Common Name
GREAT BASIN (WESTERN) RATTLESNAKE

Scientific Name
CROTALUS OREGANUS LUTOSUS

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The Great Basin rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus lutosus, is a subspecies of the western rattlesnake that occurs throughout much of the Great Basin region. Consequently, the Great Basin rattlesnake is found in much of western Utah, where it occurs in a variety of habitats ranging from prairie and desert areas to open mountain forests. This species is primarily found on the ground, but will occasionally climb into trees and shrubs. During periods of cold weather, Great Basin rattlesnakes occupy mammal burrows, crevices, and caves, where they become inactive.

The Great Basin rattlesnake is live-bearing; females give birth to approximately four to twelve young in the late summer or fall. The diet of this species consists of small mammals, birds, lizards, and occasionally amphibians. Prey are subdued by injecting venom through large hollow fangs at the front of the upper jaw. Great Basin rattlesnakes are typically light tan, yellowish, or light gray in color, with dark blotches on their backs.

Sources:

  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.

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