My first example of this snake I found in the daytime in Valley of Fire State Park (NV), most of the others I have encountered while roadhunting at night in Nevada and Arizona. This is a venomous species found in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
The Speckled Rattlesnake is not a particularly large snake; most measure 2 to 3 feet in length. This species varies in color, often matching the earth tones of the rocks and soil in its habitat. Some occur in beautiful shades of orange or pink.
Like all rattlesnakes, this reptile has heat-sensing pits on either side of its head with which it detects warm-blooded prey. The pits are located in between the nostril and the eye.
With a scientific name of Crotalus mitchellii, it is named in honor of Silas Weir Mitchell (1829–1914), a medical doctor who also studied rattlesnake venom.
The Speckled Rattlesnake eats mice, rats, lizards and birds. It uses venom injected through its long, hollow, retractable fangs to kill and begin digesting its prey.
This is an alert, nervous species most often associated with rocky hillsides and outcrops. In older literature, this snake is known as the Faded, Bleached and Granite Rattlesnake.