COLORADO DESERT SIDEWINDER


Scientific name: Crotalus cerastes laterorepens

Size

The average size of a mature Colorado Desert Sidewinder is 1.5 - 2 feet, with some getting as large as 2.5 feet in length.

Description

The Colorado Desert Sidewinder looks as if it has horns over its eyes and is sometimes called the horned rattlesnake. These horns are actually upturned scales, and are not truly horns. The body is typically a sandy tan, gray, or cream color and is patterned with dark blotches of brown or grey on the back and sides. There is a dark cheek-stripe on both sides of the head that starts at the eye and runs diagonally down and backwards above the mouthline. The tail often has a few to several rings. The end of the tail has a rattle on it. The bottom of the rattle is brown.

The Sidewinder gets its name from the unique sidewinding motion it uses to move. The sidewinding motion is used to move across loose sand without slipping. The sidewinder leaves a series of J marks in the sand.

The Colorado Desert Sidewinder has elliptical pupils that look like cat's eyes and like all pit vipers, has a heat-sensing pit between the nostril and eye on each side of its head.

Distribution

In the United States, the Colorado Desert Sidewinder is found in Arizona and California.
Map of US states the Colorado Desert Sidewinder is found in.
Map does not show area of true distribution, only the states in which there is a population.
Actual distribution in any highlighted state may be limited.

Colorado Desert Sidewinder
Photo used by permission:
© 2003 William Flaxington

Colorado Desert Sidewinder
Photo used by permission:
© 2006 Jeremiah Easter

Colorado Desert Sidewinder
Photo used by permission:
© 2006 Jeremiah Easter

Colorado Desert Sidewinder
Photo used by permission:
© 2001 Jeff Miller

For more information on venomous snakes, please see the Venomous Links page.


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