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Great Basin Rattlesnake

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Is the Great Basin Rattlesnake right for you?

Species group:

Scientific name: Crotalus oreganus lutosus

The basics:
The Great Basin Rattlesnake and 5 similar subspecies are well known throughout the western USA, as some colonize ranches and suburban areas. Although an attractive and interesting creature, this potentially deadly snake should be enjoyed in zoos rather than private collections.

The Great Basin Rattlesnake is found in the Great Basin region of the western USA (between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains), where it frequents brush-covered canyons, rocky ledges and talus slopes.

Appearance / health:
The background color often matches that of the local rocks – gray, tan , brown or salmon in color, and is marked with brown or black blotches. Adults reach 1-1.5 meters (3-5 ft) in length.

Zoo specimens are sensitive to dampness but otherwise hardy, and have approached 25 years of age.

Behavior / temperament:
Great Basin Rattlesnakes adjust well to large zoo exhibits but are always ready to defend themselves if unsettled by keepers or visitors.

Housing:
It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite, or, prior to a bite, to arrange for treatment in a hospital.

Diet:
Great Basin Rattlesnakes feed upon woodrats, white-footed mice, ground squirrels, and other rodents, jackrabbits, snakes, lizards, and birds. Zoo specimens fare well on mice and rats.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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