All about the Mojave (Mohave) rattlesnake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.
Description: The Mojave Rattlesnake’s (also known as Mohave Rattlesnake, Mojave Green, Mojave Diamond Rattlesnake, and Mojave Rattler) entire body is a cream or sandy color, sometimes pale green (depending upon its surroundings) with darker diamond-shaped markings bordered by lighter-colored scales and black bands around the tail. The Mojave rattlesnake is typically light brown in color but some have a greenish hue leading to the alternate name, Mojave Greens. The diamond patterns are typically bordered in black or dark brown with dark gray or olive green centers. The diamond patterns gradually changes to bands as they near the tail which is the primary distinction between the Mojave Rattlesnake and the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (whose diamond patterns continue to the end of the tail). White bands on the tail are more prominent and tend to be wider than the black bands (another factor distinguishing it from the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake whose bands are predominately black).
The Mojave Rattlesnake’s neck is slender with a broad, triangular shaped head. The tail ends with a rattle of which a new section is added each time the snake sheds its skin.
Characteristics: Although this rattlesnake is of moderate size, its bite is very serious. Its venom has quantities of neurotoxic elements that affect the central nervous system and it is capable of delivering significant quantities of venom when it bites. Deaths have resulted from this snake’s bite.
The Mojave Rattlesnake is most active from April to September. They feed on small rodents, birds, and lizards. They are known to be aggressive towards humans and will defend themselves vigorously when disturbed. When threatened, they typically rattle their tails vigorously, pose their head in a striking position, and “fake” strike while backing away to shelter.
The Mojave Rattlesnake is primarily nocturnal and hibernates during the colder months.
Symptom: The venom is considered to be the most lethal in all of North America and they are capable of delivering large amounts of venom. Victims may experience swelling and redness in the bite area, nausea, chest pain, blurred vision and difficulty swallowing and speaking. In severe cases, victim can experience muscle weakness and even respiratory failure.
Treatment: The chances of surviving a Mojave Rattlesnake bite are good if treatment can be started quickly but as with any rattlesnake bite, death is common if untreated. Keep the victim calm with the bite area held lower than the heart. Continue treatment as you would any snake bite treatment.
Habitat: Found in arid regions, deserts, and rocky hillsides from sea level to 2400-meter (7920-feet) elevations. It is primarily a snake of the high desert or lower mountain areas. They prefer scrub brush but may be found in forests or grasslands. They tend to avoid heavily vegetative areas and prefer open habitats.
Length: Average 75 centimeters (29 inches), maximum 1.3 meters (4 1/2 feet).
Distribution: Southwest United States, particularly in the Mojave Desert in California, Nevada, southwest Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas into Mexico.