San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Field Guide
Baja California Rattlesnake, photographed by BDH

Crotalus enyo
Baja California Rattlesnake

VIPERIDAE

Crotalus comes from the Greek crotalon, meaning a rattle or little bell. The name enyo refers to the Greek mother of war, the mother of Ares, of late Greek mythology.

Description

The Baja California Rattlesnake is a medium sized rattlesnake growing to 20-31 inches in length (50-80 cm). This species has a relatively small head with a eye stripe extending from the back of the eye. Its coloration varies from tan to dark brown, grayish brown to silvery gray, and may gradually lighten posteriorly. The individuals in the southern portion of its range tend to be lighter then those in the more northern areas. The underside of the snake is cream colored with gray to brown dotting.

Range and Habitat

The Baja California Rattlesnake is found only on the Baja California peninsula and some associated islands including Islas Magdalena, Santa Margarita, Carmen, Cerralvo, Los Coronados, Danzante, Monserrate, Pond, San José, and San Marcos. On the peninsula, it can be found from the southern tip to an area just north of San Quentin on the Pacific side and to Bahía de los Angeles on the Gulf side.

Subspecies: There have been three subspecies recognized. These include Crotalus enyo furvus, C. e. enyo, and C. e. cerralvensis. None has been considered a distinct species and each most likely represents a geographic color morph which intergrades with the others.

Natural History

Little is known about the natural history of this Baja endemic. It is known to occur throughout the arid regions of the peninsula and in the northwestern portion of its range can be found in coastal sage-scrub habitats. It is known to feed on rodents and will probably eat lizards as well.

Conservation Status

There have been no proposed conservation plans. Because of widespread negative attitudes towards snakes, very few conservation programs, worldwide, have been created. A much higher percentage of snakes are threatened with extinction than is currently recognized. Therefore, snakes are particularly susceptible to being overlooked by conservation-minded biologists.


Text by David Gonzalez and Bradford Hollingsworth.
Photos by Bradford Hollingsworth.

Field Guide: Reptiles and Amphibians | Field Guide Feedback Form