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7 Facts about Arizona Rattlesnakes [15 Pics] Scary Looking

The ridge nosed rattlesnake is named as the state reptile of Arizona. However, the area is loaded with a wide range of species and sub-species; few of them may be venomous as well. The state snake is also a venomous kind of pit viper.

Along with many venomous snakes in the area, you may find few harmless ones as well. Below we have listed details about some of the most famous rattlesnakes in Arizona.

  1. 17 Species Live there(11 species, 6 subspecies)

  2. 1 Mile range away from den

  3. 250 people bitten per year

  4. 7 feet long max

  5. Eat birds, rodents, rabbits, lizards

  6. Can strike 2/3 of body length

  7. 20 year life span


In the cool and beautiful environment of Tuscan, Arizona has a number of open wide spaces to visit. There are endless hiking trails, and you may find large golf grounds as well. But before you step into the random areas, it is important to know that there are plenty of reptiles as well.

Stats reveal that more than 250 people suffer from rattlesnake bites every year in Arizona. And the important fact is that rattlesnakes that are found in Arizona are more dangerous and lethal.

You may find them wandering around in the summer evenings when the sun goes down; however, they also come out in the fall, winter, and spring season as well.

In order to identify a rattlesnake in Arizona, you may need to observe its tail and head. The head is usually triangular shaped, and there may be patches of the brown color on their skin. One can identify rattlesnake among many other varieties of snakes by observing his rattle.

However, the younger snakes do not have fully grown rattle; hence, you may just notice a few segments only. But one should not get closer for such observations as these snakes may attack.

Rattlesnakes are pit – vipers. This means that they have heat-sensing pit organs which help them to ambush their prey. Thanks to their sensing pit, they can recognize their prey even if there is minute variation in the background heat ( as little as 1/10 of a degree). Rattlesnakes are ambush predators and lie in wait for their prey and then attack them when they come near.

Rattlesnakes are ectotherm. This means that their body temperature depends on the external environment( cold- blooded). They can’t tolerate extremities of climatic variations. During very hot days, they hide under any available gaps: whether underground burrows or rocks. In winters they hibernate in caves. 

They can eat up to 25% of the total rodent population in their habitat.

Different species of rattlesnakes have their own defense mechanism. Some blend with the environment fooling their predators, others escape soundlessly. When agitated, they may attack their predator from a coiled position. They are known for their defense pose where they use their rattle to avert their predators. 

Rattlesnakes are primarily diurnal. However, they become nocturnal during the hottest months of summer. 

Generally, there are 17 different types of rattlesnakes in Arizona. One of the most common species over there is western diamondback rattlesnake.

These snakes can have the largest size in the area; some may grow up to the maximum size of 5 feet. However, those raised in captivity may not achieve this much length. Experts advise avoiding Mohave rattlesnake as their venom can be more dangerous and leave an immediate impact on the spinal cord and brain area. Note that Mohave rattlesnake in Arizona is found with green color and may have wide, light bands.

The Arizona rattlesnakes are observed to have retractable fangs, and they are always curious to attack prey. Some of the most common targets of these rattlesnakes are amphibians, lizards, rabbits, rodents, and birds as well. They attack humans only if they are threatened, or someone tries to approach their territory. Other than this, there are sidewinder rattlesnakes, speckled rattlesnake, Arizona black rattlesnake, prairie rattlesnake, great basin rattlesnake, and tiger rattlesnake.

Rattlesnake bites are usually more painful, and they may cause considerable harm to human life. Many people even die when they do not receive the required medical treatment on time. Hence, it is better to stay away from these harmful snakes in Arizona. Even if you come across one, don’t try to mess with it; rather, take some preventive measures for your safety only.

Pictures –

List of places to camp in Arizona


Rattlesnakes are non-aggressive reptiles and don’t seek humans out. However, they can be dangerous if threatened. The venom of rattlesnakes is extremely toxic. Some of the sub-species have neurotoxins in their venom. Neurotoxins act faster and result in a multitude of health problems including difficulty in swallowing, speaking, and even respiratory failure. Rattlesnake bite has ceased to be a life threat anymore but any bite by a rattlesnake should be given medical attention. These bites are excruciatingly painful and if bitten by a rattlesnake more than 3.3 feet , it could be lethal.  

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Rattlesnakes are the new-latest thing in the white meat industry, they are edible, and taste like chicken. Also delicious. Snakes like pythons and rattlers are tender, light and advertised for its aphrodisiac properties. Low in fat and calories with added medicinal values have increased popularity of rattlesnake meat among the avid non-vegetarian foodies.

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