Utah Field Guide – Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes are found throughout Utah and right now is prime time to stumble across one. Eight rattlesnake subspecies live in Utah. The most common is the Great Basin rattlesnake.

The Great Basin rattlesnake is found in a variety of habitats ranging from prairie and desert areas to open mountain forests. This species is primarily found on the ground, but will occasionally climb into trees and shrubs.

A rattlesnakes diet consists of small mammals, birds, lizards, and occasionally amphibians. Prey are subdued by injecting venom through large hollow fangs at the front of the upper jaw. Great Basin rattlesnakes are typically light tan, yellowish, or light gray in color, with dark blotches on their backs.

Seeing a rattlesnake in the wild can be a frightening experience. But it doesn’t have to be. If you encounter a rattlesnake, the way you act will likely determine the experience you have. Do not try to kill the snake. Doing so is illegal and greatly increases the chance the snake will bite you. Rattlesnakes are fully protected by Utah law; it’s illegal to harass or kill one. For some rattlesnake safety tips, click click HERE.

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