Snuggles was caught locally as a young snake. 


About Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes

Order: Squamata; Family: Vipiridae; Species: Crotalus oreganus oreganus 

Range: This subspecies of the western rattlesnake is found in California, from Santa Barbara north through most of Oregon and eastern Washington.      

Habitat: This rattlesnake occurs in arid plains, desert margins, fertile valleys, prairie grasslands, chaparral-covered foothills, on rocky ridges, in mountain meadows, and forests. 

Diet: Juveniles prefer lizards, adults eat primarily rodents, some lizards, amphibians and rarely birds. 

Reproduction: Rattlesnakes are ovoviviparous. Fertilized eggs remain within their bodies until fully developed and the young are born live. A female rattlesnake can store a male's sperm for years until an optimum time for fertilization.

Behavior: This species of rattlesnake is a generally passive, non-aggressive species. They generally come out at dawn and dusk or are nocturnal during the hot summer. They will sometimes come out during the day to bask on rocks, but normally stay hidden in crevices most of the day.  

Lifespan15-20 years. 

Fun Facts

  • There are many color variations  which has them often mis-identified as Timber rattlesnakes.
  • This is the only venomous snake found in Northern California. 

  • You cannot tell the age of a rattlesnake by counting the segments of the rattle.  They shed different amounts throughout their lives, sometimes up to six times/year.  Being made of keratin, they will break off when they get long.

  • The northern pacific rattlesnake is part of a group of venomous snakes called pit vipers, named for the deep pits in front of its eyes that act as heat-sensing organs for locating warm-blooded prey.

  • 8000 people in the US are bitten by venomous snakes each year

  • ONLY 6 people die from venomous snake bites in the US each year

  • 60% of bites in the US are dry bites.  This means that the snake did not inject any venom.  This is the most common result when a snake is suddenly startled (i.e. accidently stepped on). 

  • Most people bitten by snakes are males between 18 and 40 and around 80% involve alcohol.

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