Snakes of Northern Nevada


Nevada is perhaps best known for it's most famous city: Las Vegas. However, outside of the sprawling metropolis, and particularly up north, the state boasts a stunning array of scenic desert beauty and is teeming with wildlife. Among this wildlife is a diverse grouping of snake species, many of which are attracted to the warm conditions and dry, rocky terrain.

Great Basin Rattlesnake

  • This brownish gray snake species inhabits the northern portion of Nevada and boasts facial stripes that distinguish it from other rattler species. In fact, this venomous snake makes its way to various areas around the state, with the exception of the extreme southern portion of Nevada. Unless it is seeking food, this snake isn't generally found in residential areas and is more often seen in agricultural regions or within the desert brush. It feeds primarily on rodents and other small creatures. The snake grows to lengths of three to four feet, and may sometimes be greenish-brown in color, making it hard to distinguish from the terrain in which it inhabits.

Panamint Rattlesnake

  • This snake is brownish in hue and can be identified by the darkly colored stripes on its back. It can be found in the north to central portion of the state, and is a smaller snake species, only growing to between two- and three-feet long. It feeds on birds and small mammals, according to the California Herps website, and is more active at night when daytime temperatures skyrocket during warmer months. The snake is fairly quiet during the winter. This is not necessarily a "deadly" snake, according to the Along The Way website, but its bite certainly packs a punch, meaning it can cause physical harm to human body tissue.

Ground Snake

  • The Ground Snake can be found in northern Nevada, but travels to the southern portions of the state as well. It is among the more striking snake species, and can be found with bands of yellow, red, black or orange. This small snake grows to between nine- and 19-inches long, states the Trail Quest website, and is a non-poisonous snake species. It feeds on insects -- including spiders and crickets -- and prefers to make its home on hillsides and in areas of the desert covered in brush. The ground snake may also be found around river beds or in a dry, open area.

Gopher Snake

  • This tricky, but harmless reptile is found in north Nevada as well as in some of the more southern and western regions. It is also dubbed "The Impostor," according to the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, because of its ability to mimic a rattlesnake. It feeds on small mammals and insects and is most often found in forest and agriculture areas, as well as around residential homes. It can mesh its head into the same shape as a rattler and even hit its tail against dry twigs or leaves to mimic the sound a rattler's tail makes when it shakes with warning.

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