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Sidewinder Snake

Sidewinder Snake

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Crotalus cerastes

Appearance

The sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes), also known as the horned rattlesnake and sidewinder rattlesnake. The sidewinder is named after its unusual way it moves. It is mostly found in south western united states deserts. It is usually small with venomous pit viper of about 30 inches long for adult and can live comfortably in the sand. The sidewinder lighter color maybe cream, light tan, gray, dusty pink with darker color splotches makes it almost impossible to spot it as it allows camouflage in the sand. The snake has two supraocular scales that look like horn just above the eyes. The supraocular scales protect the eyes when hiding under the sand and during the bright days. It also derived its nickname from the horn as horned rattlesnake. The sidewinder like every other pit vipers, possess a triangular head, eyes with elliptical pupils and injects venom into their victims with two large fangs. As a result of living in the desert, it has a unique style of moving sideways which helps it navigate swiftly and very efficiently over moving sand.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Although, they hunt during the night in warmer months and during the day in the cooler months but it is active in the day and night. Lizard and small mammals are the major food. The snake lays its eggs under the sand. It often bites its prey and run after it until it is weakened by its venom and then consumes the prey. Sidewinder are aggressive only when endangered. It will rattle its tail as a warning to its predators and may strike if predator does not desist. They are mostly found in desert or along its road or highways. In the summer months, they regulate their body temperature with pavements. Encounters with human occurs when hikers step on it without knowing as it hid itself in the sand. Although, not always fatal. The sidewinder bite will require medical attention and the bite is extremely painful.