Common Name
GREEN PRAIRIE (PRAIRIE) RATTLESNAKE

Scientific Name
CROTALUS VIRIDIS VIRIDIS

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Frank C. Johnson
Photo Copyright Frank C. Johnson

The green prairie rattlesnake, Crotalus viridis viridis, a subspecies of the prairie rattlesnake, occurs throughout the central United States, as well as is in portions of southern Canada and northern Mexico. Green prairie rattlesnakes have recently been discovered to occur in southeastern Utah, and they may be found to occur in other parts of the state as well. They are found primarily on the ground, but will occasionally climb into trees and shrubs. During periods of cold weather, green prairie rattlesnakes occupy mammal burrows, crevices, and caves, where they become inactive.

The green prairie rattlesnake is live-bearing; females give birth to approximately four to twelve young in the late summer or fall. Their diets consist of small mammals, birds, lizards, and occasionally amphibians. Prey items are subdued by injecting venom through large hollow fangs at the front of the upper jaw. As their name implies, green prairie rattlesnakes are typically greenish (sometimes brown or gray) in color, with brown 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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