State Reptile Of Arizona

State Reptile Of Arizona

Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake Is The State Reptile Of Arizona. The Arizona State Reptile ridge-nosed rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi) was designated the official state reptile of Arizona in 1986. Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake size is small up to 668 mm or 26″ in total length excluding rattle. A ridge of upturned scales lining the top edge of the snout between the nostrils gives this snake its common name.

There are two subspecies in State Reptile Of Arizona: the Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi) and the New Mexico Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi obscurus). Crotalus willardi is reddish brown, orange-brown, or rust and the chin and sides of the face are marked with sharply contrasting white lines on a dark reddish brown background. Crotalus willardi obscurus does not have prominent facial markings and is usually pale gray to gray-brown.

The backs of both subspecies are marked with pale crossbars lined with darker coloration along the front and back edges. The underside is cream to white with occasional mottling of grayish to reddish brown. Young has a dark gray, black, or light yellowtail. The pupils are vertically elliptical and the dorsal scales are keeled. The neck is slender and the head is broad and triangular.

On the end of the tail is a rattle composed of a series of loosely interlocking keratinous sections. In adults, a new rattle section is added each time the snake sheds its skin. The Arizona State Reptile Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake is usually encountered within Madrean Evergreen Woodland or Petran Montane Conifer Forest communities. It is often found in or near drainages with abundant canopy cover and leaf litter.

Primarily diurnal but it is occasionally crepuscular when conditions are favorable and is occasionally active into the night at lower elevations. It hibernates during the cold months of late fall and winter. This snake is primarily a ground-dweller but it sometimes climbs onto tree trunks, stumps, and the faces of rock outcroppings. Young Arizona State Reptile Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake use the dark gray or yellow colored tail to lure lizards.