Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus
Federal and State Protections
Countries of Occurrence
United States, Mexico
70cm (24in) - 137cm (54in)
States or Providence
Arizona (US), California (US), Nevada (US), New Mexico (US), Texas (US), Utah (US), Chihuahua (MX), Sonora (MX), Durango (MX), Coahuila (MX), Zacatecas (MX), Nuevo Leon (MX)
The Mojave Rattlesnake is a medium-large sized species found in arid regions of the US and Mexico. They superficially resemble a number of other species, including the western diamondback (Crotalus atrox); but are most easily recognized by the large scales (called scutes) on the top of their head between their eyes. It is these scutes for which the Mojave derives its scientific name, Crotalus scutalus. Other notable features include the white tail rings being larger/wider than the black tail rings, and the dark facial stripe running below the mouth onto the bottom of the chin.
The kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami) is reportedly the favorite prey item of Mojave rattlesnakes. They are mammal specialists which primarily target rodents, but may also take small rabbits and lizards on occasion.
Mojaves are one of the most well-known of the neurotoxic Type-A rattlesnakes, with individuals in much of their range except central Arizona (which has a hemotoxic Type-B) possessing the potent namesake "Mojavetoxin".
Like many of other snakes, the Mojave is shrouded in rumor, myth and urban legend. The so-called "Mojave Green" is often falsely believed to be a separate species of snake. While some individuals may sport an olive coloration, this is nothing more than one of several hues individuals can come in. They have an undue reputation as aggressive and temperamental; however, they are unlikely to strike except as a last resort, and reports of "charging" or "chasing" behaviors are most likely based on misunderstood interactions.
Fun fact: When threatened, Mojave rattlesnakes are known to raise their body above their head in an S-shape and rattle.