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Photo credit:

Dick Bartlett

Common name

Hopi Rattlesnake

Scientific name

Crotalus viridis nuntius

Conservation Status

Federal and State Protections

Range Map

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Countries of Occurrence

USA

Adult size

23.8in (60cm)

States or Providence 

Utah, Arizona, New Mexico

Counties

San Juan (UT), Coconino (AZ)

Species Description

The Hopi rattlesnake occurs on the desert plateau of northern Arizona and New Mexico and southern Utah. Its diet primarily consists of small mammals, birds, and lizards.

It is almost impossible to visually distinguish the Hopi Rattlesnake from the closely related subspecies C. v. viridis in areas where they overlap. However, C. v. nuntius is considerably smaller than its cousin, with adults growing to around 60cm. This has led to some scientists referring to the Hopi rattlesnake as a "dwarf form" of the Prairie rattlesnake. Hopi rattlesnakes also reach adulthood at smaller sizes than do Prairie rattlesnakes.

Unlike their close cousins, Hopi rattlesnakes den independently rather than communally.

This small rattlesnake is named for the Hopi People which share its geographic area. The Hopi often used snakes, including this species, in ceremonial practices. Rattlesnakes were believed to be a blessing of rain and fertility. Their association with water likely came from increased activity following rain events.