Mohave Rattlesnake: The Deadliest Rattlesnake in North America – If You’re a Lab Mouse!

Cardwell, Michael D.
Department of Biology     
San Diego State University                                                                                                                              
5500 Campanile Drive                                                                                                                                         
San Diego, California 92182, USA


Even against the backdrop of the near universal fear of snakes, the Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) is unique in the variety of myths associated with it. And the number of people who believe and repeat these myths, including journalists and individuals viewed as authorities by the lay public – including some physicians and biologists, is extraordinary. Even popular field guides and medical references commonly describe Mohave Rattlesnakes as the “most aggressive,” “most dangerous” and/or “most toxic” of rattlesnakes. This presentation will discuss the most common and the most mind-boggling beliefs about this misunderstood animal, including the likely origins of these myths and what first-hand experience and scholarly studies tell us about each of them.


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