Tuesday, March 8, 2016

It’s the season for rattlesnakes

There is an article from USA Today, 03/08/16 - http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/03/08/man-bitten-rattlesnake-arizona/81469830/ regarding a gentleman who was bit by a rattlesnake Sunday. He was interviewed in the hospital. Also, in the article it mentions “Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesman Randall Babb said the peak season for rattlesnake bites varies between years, and often depends on outside temperature. With this year getting warmer so early, rattlesnake season may have started earlier as well, he added. Sunday's high temperature was 80 degrees, according to AccuWeather.com. Babb also noted that there are 13 different species of rattlesnakes in Arizona, some with more toxic venom than others.”

With that in mind, I looked up Arizona rattlesnakes and came up with this information on the Arizona Game and Fish web site.  Here is the link to the original page:  https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/livingwith/rattlesnakes.  

Arizona Rattlesnakes
Rattlesnake Facts
  • Scientists have identified 36 rattlesnake species
  • Rattlesnakes live only in North and South America
  • 13 species live in Arizona, more than any other state
  • Rattlesnakes use the "loreal pit," a heat-sensing organ between the nostril and eye to locte prey and potential predators
  • These snakes have glands that make venom, much like human saliva glands make saliva
  • The rattle is made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and fingernails
  • The age of a rattlesnake cannot be determined by counting the segments of its rattle
  • Rattlesnake prey may include small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and centipedes
  • According to Arizona Poison Centers, less than 1% of rattlesnake bites result in human deaths

Living with venomous reptiles brochure

Rattlesnake Species
Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

  • Up to 22" long
  • Most primitive form of rattlesnake in U.S.
  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona
Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

  • Up to 50" long
  • Widely considered most toxic rattlesnake in U.S.
  • Easily confused with Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)

  • Up to 64" long
  • Reportedly used in famous Hopi snake
    dance ritual
Sidewinder Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes)

  • Up to 25" long
  • Travels in side-winding motion
  • Only rattlesnake with horns over eyes
Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli)

  • Up to 51" long
  • Color can vary greatly from nearly white to pink, gray or brown
  • Color often matches their surroundings
Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei)

  • Up to 26" long
  • Small rattle sounds like insect
  • One of four rattlesnake species with special
    protection in Arizona
Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)

  • Up to 35" long
  • Small head doesn't hold much venom, but venom is powerful
Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)

  • Up to 26" long
  • Gets its name from raised ridge of scales around front of snout
  • Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake is official state reptile
  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona
Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

  • Up to 66" long
  • Largest rattlesnake in the West
  • Responsible for more bites and deaths to humans than any other rattlesnake species in U.S.
Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)

  • Up to 48" long
  • Color can vary greatly from brown or beige to green or golden yellow
Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus)

  • Up to 42" long
  • Young are vividly patterned and can look very different from adults
Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)

  • Up to 63" long
  • Has venom twice as strong as Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, but produces less venom
Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus)

  • Up to 33" long
  • Young use brightly colored tail to attract prey, but tail changes color as snake gets older
  • One of four rattlesnake species with special protection in Arizona

 We saw a rattlesnake a couple of years ago while boondocking on Plomosa Road near Quartzsite. It was the end of March and warm out. It scared the daylights of of me; and, I think, Curt too, as he just walked out the door when it started rattling.

snake 2snake

So, pay attention when hiking, or geocaching, or just reaching under something. It’s their territory.