SPECIES NAMECrotalus stephensi
RISK TO HUMANSHighly venomous
DISTRIBUTIONCentral Eastern California


Panamint Rattlesnake Range Map

Panamint Rattlesnake Activity Chart

A medium-sized pit viper, whose body characteristics mirror that of other rattlesnake species. The coloration varies from tan, yellowish, orange, and brown to gray and off-white. Patterns consist of dark blotches and small bands that give a geometrical “speckled” appearance that follows the dorsal surface to the sides. The color and patterns generally remain the same down the tail, with the last bands creating one large black band just before the rattle. Adult length range from 23-52 inches.

Limited range in central eastern California from the eastern Sierra Nevada north of the Mojave River to the Nevada border. Typically inhabits canyons, foothills, buttes, and erosion gullies in rocky desert areas, however, can also be found in chaparral, and pinyon-juniper woodland.

Specializes in small mammals such as woodrats and ground squirrels. Secondary prey includes birds and lizards, lizards seeming most important to juvenile feeding.

Typically unaggressive. Prefers to remain motionless and quiet as first line of defense, but will coil and rattle if threatened or move away from threats. May strike and bite if provoked or startled. Primarily nocturnal during periods of excessive high heat but active in the early daytime hours when the temperatures are moderate or cooler. Most active from April through October. Mating occurs in the spring with 2-12 live young born between July and August. Neonates measure approximately 10 inches at birth.