Western/Prairie Rattlesnake

Prairie/Western Rattlesnake   Crotalus viridus

Type of Animal:

Prairies, grasslands, savanna, brush, chaparral, woodlands, forests, caves, rock ledges, streamsides, haylands, croplands, pond sides, wetlands, dry rocky areas, desert margins, chaparral-covered foothills, plains, rocky ridges, desert, mountain meadows, valleys, watercourses, arid basins, wooded/forested mountains, mountainous areas, hilly areas

SE Alberta, SW Saskatchewan, areas of Idaho bordering Montana, Montana (except NW region), C & E Wyoming, most of Colorado except for some of W, far SE Utah, parts of E Arizona, most of New Mexico, W Texas, W Oklahoma, W Kansas, Nebraska (except for much of E), S & far W S Dakota, W N Dakota, & parts of N Mexico bordering US

Light colored w/ brown hues, younger animals lighter, patches of dark brown in dorsal pattern, color band at back of eye, triangular head, many animals greenish gray/greenish brown, Hopi subspecies pink to gray to orange-brown, young lack rattle having button instead.

Prairie dogs, ground squirrels, mice, rats, rabbits, birds (especially ground birds), amphibians, other snakes, lizards, gophers

Status in Wild:

Breeding from zoos, wildlife parks, & reptile breeders

Solitary or in groups of up to 15 individuals (especially during denning/hibernation)

Additional Info:


Male-16 oz
Female-14.08 oz

3-4 months 

Life Span:
16-20 years

Body Length:
Male-3 ft
Female-2.5 ft
Young-1 ft

Tail Length:
1 ft

Main predators are bobcats, foxes, coyotes, hawks, owls, falcons, bears, pigs, eagles, wolves, skunks, corvids, kingsnakes, badgers, otters, & roadrunners.

Females give birth to 1-25 live young a year, giving birth from August-early October.

Venom primarily hemotoxic w/ some neurotoxic properties.

Sexually mature at 2.5 years old.

Hibernate in winter & sometimes as early as late September. Often dens w/ bullsnakes, blue racers, & garter snakes (which they sometimes eat).

People kill them out of fear & for meat.

Fun Fact(s):
Striking distance usually 1-2 feet away.

Like all venomous snakes, they’re born w/ venom.

These rattlesnakes not aggressive & only bite when cornered/molested. They use rattle as warning.

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