Discover the 4 Venomous Snakes Near Nevada’s Lake Mead

Discover the 4 Venomous Snakes Near Nevada’s Lake Mead

Located along the Colorado River on the border of Arizona and Nevada, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. The lake provides water for nearly 20 million people and represents one of the most critical water sources in the country. The lake is surrounded by rugged desert hills and supports a wide range of wildlife. Bighorn sheep, mountain lions, great blue herons, geese, turtles and all kinds of fish rely on the lake and its life-giving water.

Hidden among the rocks and canyons around the lake, you can also find many types of snakes. While most snakes in the area are harmless, some can pose a danger to humans. In fact, Lake Mead contains 4 different species of venomous rattlesnakes. Additionally, one species possesses neurotoxin venom that is considered among the most powerful rattlesnake venoms in the world. Let’s take a moment to discover the 4 poisonous snakes near Lake Mead!

4 Venomous Rattlesnakes Near Lake MeadMojave Green Mojave Rattlesnakes are ambush predators.


Also known simply as the Mojave rattlesnake, the Mojave rattlesnake is the first rattlesnake on our list. You can find this venomous viper throughout the southwestern United States and central Mexico. Prefers high desert and lower montane terrain with lots of scrub brush present, such as sage or mesquite. On average, most specimens are about 3.3 feet long, but they can grow up to 4.5 feet. As its name implies, the Mojave green rattlesnake usually appears pale green. However, they can vary in color depending on their environment. The tail has white and black stripes, and a dark diamond pattern runs the length of the back.

Mojave rattlesnakes are ambush predators. Their diet consists mainly of small lizards and rodents. When threatened, they will actively defend themselves, which has led many people to view them as aggressive. They possess some of the most powerful venoms among rattlesnakes worldwide. Their venom contains neurotoxic and hemotoxic qualities. This means that the venom attacks the nervous system and brain as well as the skin and muscle tissue. Such a deadly combination makes the Mojave green snake one of the most dangerous snakes in the United States. However, with proper medical treatment, the vast majority of people recover from bites.

Mojave Desert SidewinderSidewinders get their name from their unique form of sideways movement, which is an adaptation for moving through loosely packed desert sands.

©Roger de Montfort/

The Mojave Desert Rattlesnake goes by many other names, including horned rattlesnake, side rattlesnake, or just rattlesnakes. It lives in deserts throughout the southwestern United States and central Mexico. Most adults range in length from 17 to 31.5 inches, with females being larger than males. Elevated supraocular scales—the enlarged scales directly above the eyes—help shade the eyes and provide protection from sand. These extensions look somewhat like little horns, hence their name. They range in color from yellow-brown to pink to gray or cream. The spinner moves horizontally by twisting the body up and pushing the head forward. This movement, known as coiling, helps the snake move through loose sand and reduce contact with the hot ground.

Like all rattlesnakes, Mojave desert rattlesnakes have toxic venom. However, their venom is relatively weaker than other rattlesnakes. In conjunction with their relatively smaller venom glands, this makes the Mojave Desert snake one of the least dangerous snakes. That said, you should seek medical attention if you are bitten by a ringworm. A side bite can cause severe pain, swelling and bruising. Additional symptoms may include nausea, dizziness, chills, and shock.

Spotted Rattlesnake The rattlesnake’s colors help it blend into the rocks, but when it’s out hunting, you should be able to clearly see its white body color.

©Dario Sabljak/

The spotted rattlesnake, or Michell’s rattlesnake, ranges throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Its common and specific name honors Silas Mitchell, a prominent physician and rattlesnake venom researcher. Specimens vary in size depending on location. Smaller spotted rattlesnakes can be about 25 inches long, while the largest recorded specimen was nearly 54 inches long. It got its name from the unique spots or spots that cover the entire body. The base of the body can vary in color from brown to brown to white to orange. However, all spotted rattlesnakes have black, white, or brown spots.

Spotted rattlesnakes prey on lizards, rodents and small birds. Although they rarely bite humans, there are some cases of spotted rattlesnakes being bitten. Their venom contains neurotoxins, but some specimens may also contain hemotoxins in their venom. Common symptoms include swelling and pain at the sight of the bite. Poisoning can cause additional symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, shock, impaired blood clotting, and mild paralysis.

Southwestern Spotted Rattlesnake Southwestern spotted rattlesnakes primarily prey on small mammals.

©Creeping Things/

The southwestern spotted rattlesnake is also known as pale rattlesnake, bleached rattlesnake, and white rattlesnake. You can find it throughout the southwestern United States and parts of northern Mexico. It usually lives in rocky hills and canyons, which offer the snake shelter during the heat of the day. Adult southwestern rattlesnakes range from 3 to 4 feet long. The color of their scales varies according to the color of the rocks and soil in their environment. While some appear brown or gray, others appear pink, yellow or white. Some specimens display a pattern of bands, spots, or spots, hence their name.

Southwestern rattlesnakes primarily prey on small mammals. However, they can also hunt lizards and birds. Their venom can cause severe pain, spotting and swelling. Skin lesions, such as blisters, are also common.

Other Venomous Snakes in Nevada

You can find several other species of rattlesnakes in Nevada. Just outside the immediate area around Lake Mead, you can find several other species of rattlesnake. These species include the Panamint rattlesnake, the western diamondback rattlesnake, and the western rattlesnake. Several venomous snakes that do not belong to the rattlesnake family also inhabit Nevada. These include the desert night snake and the southwestern black-headed snake.

What to do if you meet a rattlesnake

The best thing to do if you encounter a rattlesnake is to leave it alone. According to a 1988 study conducted at the University of Southern California, rattlesnakes normally only bite when surprised or threatened. The study found that 44% of all rattlesnake bites occur when people accidentally step on or disturb a rattlesnake. Meanwhile, nearly 55% of rattlesnake bites occur due to people handling or catching a rattlesnake. By keeping your distance, you drastically improve your chances of avoiding a rattlesnake bite. If you encounter a rattlesnake in the wild, simply walk around the snake. Do not try to provoke the snake or move it. If the snake is in a highly populated area – such as a playground – or in your home, contact your local wildlife authority to have the snake removed.

Tips for avoiding rattlesnake bites

Follow these tips to increase your chances of avoiding a rattlesnake bite:

Keep your pet on a leash while walking in areas where rattlesnakes live. Do not wander off trails into areas with long grass or rock ledges where rattlesnakes like to make their dens. Always try to keep at least 10 feet between you. and a rattlesnake Wear tall hiking boots or rubber boots when walking to protect your feet and legs Avoid entering cracks or crevices when walking where rattlesnakes can hide Keep grass short and remove debris where rattlesnakes can be hidden. that rattlesnakes rest What to do if you are bitten by a rattlesnake

If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Although painful, most rattlesnake bites are not fatal. In fact, experts estimate that rattlesnakes bite 7,000 to 8,000 people each year. However, of that total, only 5 people die from rattlesnake bites each year on average. In other words, following practical medical advice gives you a 99.9% chance of surviving a rattlesnake bite.

The first thing to do when bitten by a rattlesnake is to get as far away from the snake as possible. Do not try to catch the snake. Instead, study the snake from a safe distance. Be sure to consider its size, shape and color. These details can help medical experts identify the species of snake and select the appropriate antivenom. If you can, go to the nearest hospital or medical center immediately. Rattlesnake bites can cause a variety of symptoms in the affected area, including pain, redness, itching, and swelling. Other symptoms may include:

Sweating Vomiting Nausea Fatigue Lightheadedness Blurred vision Difficulty breathing

To treat a rattlesnake bite, remove any tight clothing or jewelry around the bite to avoid pressure caused by any swelling. You can apply a clean bandage to the wound, but do not try to wash the wound or stop the blood flow to the area. Allowing the wound to bleed may allow a venom to be released and may help medical professionals identify the appropriate antivenom. If you begin to experience signs of shock, lie down and avoid unnecessary movement. Also, don’t:

Elevate the affected area above the level of your heart – this can make the poison reach your heart faster. Eat any medicine, alcohol or caffeine. Apply a compress or ice. Cut the wound or try to inhale the poison. cONcluSiON

Don’t let your fear of snakes stop you from visiting Lake Mead. The chances of being bitten by a rattlesnake are low as long as you take the right precautions. In general, snakes tend not to bite unless you give them a very good reason. By following the trails and watching where you place your hands and feet, you should have nothing to fear from the rattlesnakes around Lake Mead.

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