Sistrurus tergeminus
Desert Massasauga

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Other Names: Edward's Massasauga, Edward's Rattlesnake
Subspecies: Desert Massasauga Sistrurus tergeminus edwardsi
Description: A small 14"-32" Rattlesnake. They are a light silver-gray to gray-brown rattlesnake. Large, oval, crisp-edged, dark brown blotches line the back. A row of faded, soft-edged blotches lines each side. Below that row there are two additional rows of crisp-edged, dark gray-brown blotches. A dark brown bar bordered by a thin white lower-edge extends back from each eye. The underside is usually plain cream or white. The pupils are vertically elliptical and the scales are keeled. Head is triangular.
Similar Species: It is easily identified by the presence of nine large symmetrical scales on top of the head between the ocular scales. All other rattlesnakes in New Mexico do not have these scales and have many small scales instead.
Venom: Venomous
Habitat: Found in valleys, on low sloping alluvial fans and on rolling grass-covered hills within the semidesert grassland. Found at elevations ranging from about 3,500' to about 4,600'.
Behavior: t is primarily nocturnal, but is occasionally encountered in the morning, on overcast days, or just before sunset. It spends most of it's time underground in rodent burrows.
Hibernation: Hibernates during the cold months, most likely
Reproduction: Livebearing, gives live birth to a litter of 4 to 8 young in late summer. Young have a yellow tail that is used to lure lizards.
Diet: They eat lizards, frogs, centipedes, mice, and other small mammals.
Authored by: Garth Teitjen