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Black Tailed Rattlesnake

Natural History

The Black Tailed Rattlesnake is most easily identified by the fact that its tail and nose are often black. Its body can be cream, yellow, gray, or olive with dark black or brown irregularly shaped blotches. The snake typically lives at higher elevations in the mountains of Arizona near rock slides, cliffs and stream courses. They avoid low land dry desert areas.

The Black Tailed Rattlesnake at right was photographed in a stream bed near Flagstaff, AZ. Like most rattlesnakes in AZ, the Black Tailed variety is not aggressive, though will rattle to warn you of their presence.

They are active both day and night during the warmer months, particularly after warm rain storms. Females typically give birth to 3-16 live young between July and August, then will defend the brood until their first molt. Black Tailed Rattlesnakes typically eat small mammals (such as woodrats, mice, kangaroo rats, rabbits and gophers), birds and lizards.

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