Species group: Rattlesnakes and Other Vipers
Scientific name: Crotalus oreganus lutosus
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.
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.
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
I’ve had the good fortune to work with this and other rattlers in zoos for decades but, fascinating though they are, I feel strongly that they should never be kept in private collections. Unfortunately, their willingness to breed and generally modest price tags leads some to label them as “ideal starter hot snakes”. Please ignore such advice!
It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite. Viper venom is far more complex than was once believed. Haemotoxins, which damage blood cells, blood vessels and body tissues, predominate in most that have been studied. However, all have neurotoxic components as well, along with the enzyme Hyaluronidase, which speeds venom diffusion. The Great basin rattlesnake is fully capable of causing fatalities in short order.
This, or a related species, can easily be viewed in most any major zoo – please limit your rattlesnake “interactions” to zoo visits, or prepare for a career as a professional zookeeper or herpetologist if you have a serious interest in venomous snakes..
From findiviglio Jan 5 2016 7:12PM