Prairie Rattlesnake

Prairie Rattlesnake

Other Names: Western Rattlesnake

Scientific Name: Crotalus viridis

Family: Crotalidae



Description & Size

  • Legless
  • No eyelids
  • Lacks external ears
  • Each scale has a prominent ridge in the middle (strongly keeled)
  • Rattle present on end of the tail
  • Pit on each side of the head between the nostril and eye
  • Vertical elliptical pupils
  • Total length:  84.0-144.8 cm (33.1-57.0 in)
  • Back color:  greenish to gray to light brown
  • Belly color:  white
  • Blotched patterning on the back


  • Short and mixed-grass prairie
  • Prairie dog towns
  • Rocky mesa, canyons, and outcrops


  • Small mammals
  • Rarely birds
  • Rarely lizards

Life History

  • Diurnal and nocturnal
  • Active season:  late March – mid-November
  • Breeding season:  late March – mid-summer
  • Gives live birth
  • 1-25 young per female


Prairie Rattlesnake Range