A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

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Speckled Rattlesnakes Found in California

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Venomous and Potentially Dangerous!
These two species of rattlesnakes are so similar in appearance that at one time they were thought to be the same species, Crotalus mitchellii. They inhabit rocky areas of the deserts and mountains, and the southern coast region. Primarily nocturnal, they are often seen crawling on roads at night and basking among rocks in the early morning.

Check the range map to determine which species occurs in your area.

If you are in the large area where the two species meet, one way to tell them apart is by looking at the dark bands around the tail.

The dark tail bands in C. pyrrhus contrast considerably with the body color,
with the terminal bands a black color. A lighter ground color is often present on the tail.

The ground color of the tail of C. stephensi is generally the same as the body color, not contrasting sharply with it. The last dark tail bands often seem to fuse together into one large black band just before the rattle.

snake snake snake
Crotalus pyrrhus - Speckled Rattlesnake
snake snake snake
Crotalus stephensi - Panamint Rattlesnake
Red: Crotalus pyrrhus -
Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake

Orange: Crotalus stephensi -
Panamint Rattlesnake

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