Snakes - Venomous

Snakes - Venomous

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Funny story about snake photography at the bottom of this page

Species names are indicated at the first photo in each series


Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) - Arizona

Spectacularly beautiful snake - not terribly aggressive - Like other pit-vipers, this snake has heat sensors that it uses to locate prey - seen below the eyes in the photos below:

Cottonmouth - a.k.a. Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus) - FL

Fairly aggressive if messed with, otherwise too easy to stumble across by accident:


Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri) - Florida

Tiny (this was about 3 inches across when coiled up), but they really pack a wallop - a friend spent a week in the hospital after getting tagged by ONE fang:

Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) - Arizona

Probably the most dangerous snake in North America. Prefers attack to retreat. Combines a bad temper with a nasty cocktail of neurotoxic AND hemotoxic venum in abundance which can be up to 10 times more potent than other species. Many have a greenish color. Found in only a small remote part of the country. If you get bitten, you're in BIG trouble. I dragged those I found off the busy roads for their own safety (most people there run them over). Every one tried to bite me. On the plus side, they pose nicely and the severe nerve damage done by their venom makes their bites hurt less than other Rattlesnakes:



Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) - New Jersey

Beautiful, fairly mild tempered and not as likely to kill you as some of the others:

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) - Arizona
Widespread and responsible for many bites (and some deaths) as they are the Rattlesnake most often encountered. Often mistaken for the more dangerous Mojave. Prefers retreat when possible. I found dozens, photographed several and not a single one attempted to strike, even when I dragged them off of busy roads with a hook:

Newborn, wasn't sure if Western or Mojave - going with Western


So, I’m driving down some dark desert road near the Mexico Border at about 9:30 when a truck comes up behind me fast. I pulled to the side of the road to let them pass. They didn’t. Immigration Service truck. The agent on the passenger side rolls down the window.

Agent: “What are you doing out here?”

Me: “Looking for Rattlesnakes”

Agent: “Why?”

Me: “I want to take pictures”

Agent: “Don’t they just lie there stretched out on the road?”

Me: “Not if you poke them with a stick.”

Agent: “Who would be stupid enough to poke a Rattlesnake with a stick?”

Me – awkward silence

Agent: “You DO know that they are poisonous, right?

Me: “Technically, they are venomous, not poisonous.”

Agent: “What’s the difference?”

Me: “That means they are OK to eat.”

Other agent laughs, puts the truck in gear and takes off.