birdandhike.com logo
Home | Wildlife | Snakes
Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)
Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)
Snakes Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)
Tan with dark blotches (central Nevada).

General Description: Great Basin Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) are medium-sized, heavy-bodied snakes with broad, triangular-shaped heads and rattles on the tail. A white facial stripe extends from behind the eye to the corner of the mouth. The dorsal pattern is variable, ground color usually tan or light gray. Dark blotches have a light center and even lighter borders. Black and white tail rings (the color of the light tail rings similar to body color). Dorsal blotches about as wide and the spaces between them.

Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)
Great Basin Rattlesnake (central Nevada).

These snakes are venomous. Do not attempt to handle rattlesnakes; rather, enjoy your good luck of finding one from a distance (minimum 4 feet away) and leave them alone.

Taxonomy: Pit Vipers Family (Viperidae). This was a subspecies of the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridus), but the Western Rattlesnake was split into Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridus) of the Great Plains and the Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) of the Intermountain and Pacific states. The Great Basin Rattlesnake is now Crotalus oreganus lutosus.

Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)
Dark blotches about as wide as light interspaces (central Nevada).

Technical Description: Body size long and heavy (to 65 inches). Ground color gray, buff, or tan. White facial stripe extends from behind the eye to the corner of the mouth. Dorsal pattern dark blotches edged with a darker color and light-colored borders. Tail with dark and light rings, but light rings similar to body color. Dorsal blotches about as wide and the spaces between them.

Diet: Small mammals to the size of rabbits, birds, lizards, snakes, and amphibians.

Habitat: Rocky outcrops, rocky slopes, rocky streambeds, and areas with ledges; from desert valleys to timberline.

Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)
Light stripe extends from in front of the eye to the corner of the mouth (central Nevada).

Range: The species range extends from southwestern Canada to northern Mexico, and from the Pacific Coast east to Idaho, western Wyoming, and western New Mexico. This subspecies occurs in the Great Basin from northeastern California, all of Nevada except the southern tip (from the mountains north of Las Vegas northward), southern Oregon, southern Idaho, western Utah, northwestern Arizona.

Breeding: Give birth to live young, usually 4 to 12 (to 25), which are born in late summer and fall.

Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)

Similar Species: Superficially, the rattlesnakes all look similar, but if you count rostral scales (not recommended), no other rattlesnake has three or more internasals touching the rostral. Consider the eye stripe and the tail banding color and pattern.

Comments:

Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)
Desert National Wildlife Range (Sawmill Canyon)
(photo © 2007 Ken Amundsen).

Special Remarks: Venomous.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 120910

Snakes Around Las Vegas Wildlife Around Las Vegas Glossary Copyright, Conditions, Disclaimer Home

 

Google Ads