How Dangerous Are Rattlesnakes In The Mojave Desert?


a rattle snake curled up outdoors

While a lot of people are afraid of just about any kind of snake, not all snakes are harmful. There are many snakes that bite but don’t cause harm to people. However, that isn’t true of two types of rattlesnakes in the Mojave desert: Mojave rattlesnakes and southwestern speckled rattlesnakes. The Mojave desert rattlesnake is often referred to as a Mojave green. Each of these snakes has specific identifying features.

Adult Mojave rattlesnakes range in length from two to four feet. They are adorned with a diamond-shaped pattern that dissolves into offset stripes toward the tail. Their color ranges from greenish-gray to yellow-brown, making it easy for these snakes to camouflage in the desert.

Adult southwestern speckled rattlesnakes reach up four feet in length. Their color varies widely. They can appear gray, yellowish-pink, cream, tan, or orange. They have 23 to 46 dark crossbands that usually narrow laterally and form blotches anteriorly. There are 3-9 dark crossbands found on the tail.

How Dangerous Are Rattlesnakes In The Mojave Desert?

Rattlesnakes are part of a group of snakes known as pit vipers. All rattlesnakes fall into this category. Snakes categorized as pit vipers are always highly venomous and dangerous. The Mojave rattlesnake is extremely dangerous, noted by many snake experts to be one of the most lethal snakes in the United States. The most common subspecies of this rattlesnake have a neurotoxic venom that makes it one of the most deadly rattlesnakes in existence and certainly one of the biggest threats in the Mojave Desert. The Mojave rattlesnake is, in fact, more deadly than the more well-known Diamondback rattlesnake. While you want to seek medical attention immediately if you are bitten by either, a Mojave rattlesnake’s bite will likely kill you without fast treatment.

Southwestern speckled rattlesnakes have lower toxicity when compared to the Mojave desert rattlesnake, but because they can get rather large, their bites are very painful and can cause everything from mild irritation to the skin and bite area to allergic reactions, and in some rare cases, even death. Recovery from a southwestern rattlesnake bite is almost always successful with the proper treatment.

Something else that makes these two Mojave desert rattlesnakes so dangerous is the way they blend in with their environment. Their coloration allows them to camouflage well in their desert environments. While it’s true that rattlesnakes make noise with their rattles when threatened, we don’t always hear them, or it’s too late when we do. When you step near either one of these rattlesnakes, they will strike out and bite. Since both of them blend in very well with desert colors and rocks, and since they are often hidden in tall grass, it’s easy to come upon them and get bitten before you even know they are there. They like to climb as well and blend in particularly well with rocks, making them easy to accidentally grab if you are scaling any kind of rock structure.

How To Keep Rattlesnakes Out Of Your Yard

Though rattlesnakes in the wild are unavoidable, you can implement strategies to keep them out of your yard. Here are some tips to keep your property free of unwanted rattlesnakes: 

  • The best way to keep rattlesnakes from finding their way into your yard is to make it less attractive to them. Keep vegetation and grass neat and avoid overgrowth. A lot of rocks and crevices are also inviting for snakes who want to hideaway.

  • Remember, snakes feed on rodents of all kinds, so one of the best ways to keep the snakes away is to eliminate foods and trash that can attract mice, rats, etc. When these rodents are present, snakes will likely be present as well. 

  • You can also consider a snake-proof fence, which should be at least 3' tall with the bottom buried at least 3" deep. There should be no gaps in gates and the sides of the gate should be flush with the ground. Using concrete slabs under the gate is helpful. Use mesh for the material of the fence that is not more than 1/4" in diameter. Snakes can’t climb smooth surfaces, so a flat, smooth material is advisable and can reduce the chance for a rattlesnake to get into your yard.

The Professionals At Red Rock Pest Control Can Help

When you have a problem with the Mojave Desert rattlesnake or the Southwestern rattlesnake, contact the experts at Red Rock Pest Control. Removing rattlesnakes on your own can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Don’t take the risk. Our skilled pest control experts are standing by to help.


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