How to Identify the Mojave Rattlesnake

By Rodney Southern
The Mojave rattlesnake Is a dangerous reptile
Wikipedia Commons - Public Domain Via USGS

The Mojave rattlesnake is one of the most dangerous snakes in the United States. Because it shares territories with the famed Western diamondback rattlesnake, the two are often confused. Both are deadly, but the Mojave rattlesnake has a unique venom that works in a very different manner. As such, being able to identify this snake is imperative if you are bitten. Here is how to not only tell the difference between the two, but how to identify the Mojave rattlesnake outright.

Recognize this heavy bodied snake as very dangerous. The Mojave rattlesnake is considered among the deadliest snakes in the world. Their venom contains a neurotoxin, which makes them the most dangerous snake in the United States when injected.

Know the difference between the Mojave and the Western diamondback rattlesnake. Similar in features, the Mojave has large white sections on its tail. The Western has large black sections. Both have black and white ringed tails, however. The Mojave tends to be a bit smaller in length and the diamond pattern found on both fades as it nears the tail of the Mojave. Misidentification can be a problem due to different types of venom and the complications it causes.

Learn the range of the Mojave rattlesnake. The Mojave can be found throughout much of Southeastern California, including the desert. They can survive in barren areas and also thrive in woodlands. They have also been spotted in parts of Colorado, Texas, Nevada and Mexico.

Recognize that the Mojave is an aggressive species. It can bite at lightening quick speeds and will do so readily.

Notice that the Mojave is a stout bodied pit viper that resembles the traditional look of a rattlesnake. It has a rattle on the end of the tail, though injured species sometimes are missing the rattle. The Mojave has a diamond pattern of dark color, with a base color ranging from gray to tan and every color in between. They often have a greenish tint and can even be colored brown.

Remember that the Mojave is a pit viper and that they often hide among the rodent trails of the desert and woodland. They sit perfectly still, and it is very easy to step directly on top of one without ever having seen it. The camouflage is second to no snake in nature, and you must stay aware of your surroundings anytime you are in the range of the Mojave.

About the Author

Based in Greensboro, Rodney Southern has been writing and editing sports and nature articles for going on 10 years. His articles have appeared in "Nicean" magazine, "The Sporting News" website and countless other online venues. Southern was the 2008 Ultimate Call for Content National Award Winner. He attended Guilford Tech and was trained as an EMT in the Army.