Rattlesnakes are important members of the natural community. They will not attack, but if disturbed or cornered, they will defend themselves. Reasonable watchfulness should be sufficient to avoid snakebite. Give them distance and respect.
There are nearly fifty species of rattlesnake, with numerous subspecies. They are named for the rattle found at the tip of their tails that is used as a warning device when threatened. Of special importance in Arizona is the Mojave Rattlesnake.
Often mis-named "Mojave Green" they have the most potent venom and are the most deadly rattlesnakes in the United Statesof any rattlesnake in North America. It's venom is neurotoxin and attacks both the nervous system with nuerotoxins and the bloodstream with hemotoxins.. The bite of this snake causes rapid paralysis. This includes paralysis of the respiratory muscles and suffocation.
Primarily nocturnal and crepuscular during periods of excessive daytime heat, but also active during daylight when the temperature is more moderate. Not active during cooler periods in Winter.
They can be identified by their triangular-shaped head and diamond-shaped markings along their body, and of course, rattles. They are brown in color in the lower elevations and darken to a green in the higher regions near the mountains.
The creosote bush, found in the 2,000 to 4,000 foot elevation is the primary, but not the only habitat of this snake. They feed primarily on small rodents. It will not come looking for trouble, nor will it run from it!
Many people have died from being bitten by this snake. Fortunately, an anti-venom has been developed to treat people who have been bitten by this snake. DO NOT PLAY WITH THESE!
Spiders. Avoidance is the best policy. Avoid putting your hand in any
cracks or reaching up into areas that you cannot see. Keep tents zipped
and shoes on. Check shoes and sleeping bags before entering.
If you have a poisoning emergency, call your Poison Center immediately. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911. Poison Centers across the country now have a new national emergency phone number - 1-800-222-1222