Photo credit:

Dick Bartlett

Common name

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake

Scientific name

Crotalus oreganus helleri

Conservation Status

Federal and State Protections

Countries of Occurrence

United States of America, Mexico

Adult size

States or Providence 

California (USA), Baja California (Mex)


Species Description

The Southern Pacific rattlesnake generally grows to 30 to 44 inches in length and is highly venomous. The photo here is of a juvenile, and a range map of the other subspecies under C. oreganus is also below. Like most other rattlesnakes, they are generalist feeders and occupy a wide range of habitats. They also inhabit Catalina Island where they can be much darker than on the mainland.

Fun Fact: The venom of the Southern Pacific rattlesnake varies substantially between populations likely depending on habitat. In certain areas, this subspecies of C. oreganus has developed neurotoxic venom. You can also see in the map that this rattlesnake can only be found in California and Baja California.

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