With southern Nevada growing in leaps and bounds and urban sprawl creeping into the natural environment, many residents may encounter the occasional indigenous snake. The most common rattlesnakes you are likely to see in this area are the Southwestern Speckled, Side-Winder, Panamint, Western Diamond-Back, Great Basin Rattlesnake, and the Mojave Green.
The Southwestern Speckled rattler is usually found in foothills, low mountains, open desert, and rocky washes.
This is the most common rattlesnake for our area. It can grow to two to three feet long with a pattern of indistinct
blotches on its back and sides. Its color varies from tan, gray, pink, or reddish tones.
The Side-Winder is one of our smallest rattlesnake species being on average only one to two feet in length. It's tan with a series of darker blotches along its back. It has a horned like scale above each eye. Because of this, it has been occasionally called the horned-rattlesnake.
The Panamint is similar to the Southwestern Speckled mentioned above. It has a more distinct pattern to its blotches along its back. It is found in the extreme western and northwestern areas of Clark County.
Nevada's Western Diamond-Back rattlesnake is found only in extreme southern Clark County and rarely encountered by residents. It is the largest of our native species with a potential length of more than four feet. It looks similar to the Mojave Green (described below) only with a series of distinct diamond-shaped blotches and lacks the green color of the Mojave.
You will most likely never encounter the Great Basin Rattlesnake in Clark County. Its living area is generally in the northern two-thirds of Nevada. It can grow to over three feet in length. Its blotches can vary in color from a yellowish to gray color, with the occasional snake with a greenish tinge.
All of the above rattlesnakes are venomous but by far the rattlesnake with the most toxic venom is the Mojave Green. This rattler is a greenish to olive-green color and has diamond-shaped blotches along its back. This rattlesnake ranges from two to three feet in length and has highly toxic venom that affects the nervous system. This snake is usually found in the open desert terrain and mountains. It is the least common rattlesnake and if found is mainly in the Eldorado Valley and Lake Mead areas.
All the abovementioned rattlesnakes have the distinctive "rattle" tail on the end of their bodies and are venomous.
For those of you who delight in desert hiking with your dog, there is a rattlesnake vaccine available for dogs. Contact your veterinarian for further information regarding this.
If you see a rattlesnake and feel you need to contact us, we do respond to calls on rattlesnakes as long as you keep the snake in sight at all times while we are in route to pick it up. The number to call is (702) 267-4970.
For further information about Nevada's snakes and other wildlife, please visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife's website, and click on the "Wildlife, Habitat, and Conservation" link.