Photo credit:

Dick Bartlett

Common name

Mottled Rock Rattlesnake

Scientific name

Crotalus lepidus lepidus

Conservation Status

Declining

Federal and State Protections

Threatened - New Mexico

Countries of Occurrence

USA, Mexico

Adult size

18in (45.7cm) - 30.5 (77cm)

States or Providence 

New Mexico (US), Texas (US), Chihuahua (MX), Coahuila (MX)

Counties

Species Description

These small rattlesnakes are highly variable in pattern and coloration, usually gray with dark bands but may range from tan to pinkish. Infants have a bright orange or yellow tail tip, which they likely use for caudal luring (swinging the tail as bait to attract prey).

They are known for their association with rocky habitats, typically found in coniferous forests or dry, wooded stream-beds, outcrops/exposed ridgelines, and creosote-cactus scrub. Lizards are their primary prey item, but they are known to occasionally target small rodents. Young may also eat insects.

The home range of this subspecies was found to be larger than that of western diamondback and tiger rattlesnakes, two much larger species at 14 ± 3 hectares! The Mojave rattlesnake, however, has a larger home range than the mottled rock rattlesnake and the other species mentioned. These differences in home range sizes are still unknown on an interspecies level, though it likely has to do with available habitat and differences in microhabitat spaces.

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