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 Desert Massasauga, Buzztail (Sistrurus catenatus edwardsii)




Desert Massasauga, Buzztail | Sistrurus catenatus-edwardsii photo
Photograph by US-CDC. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

DESERT MASSASAUGA, BUZZTAIL FACTS

Description
The Desert Massasauga is a small rattlesnake with a light gray or white base color, with dark gray or gray brown blotches. There is a dark stripe along the side of the head passing over the eye. The rattles are quite high pitched compared with some of the larger species of rattlesnake. The underside is nearly white. They are mainly nocturnal, and avoid the heat of the day in summer. The Desert Massasauga is paler in color, smaller and more slender than the Western Massasauga (S. c. tergeminus).

Other Names
Edward's Massasauga, Edward's rattlesnake

Size
30cm - 50cm.

Environment
rocky semi-arid and arid areas, desert grasslands.

Food
rodents, lizards and frogs.

Breeding
They give birth to living young (ovoviviparous). Breeding occurs during the late summer and up to 7 live young are born the following year.

Range
Found in south eastern Arizona, central and southern New Mexico, western Texas. Also found in northern Mexico.

Notes
Massasauga has more potent venom than some larger species of rattlesnakes, but it cannot deliver as much in a single bite, reducing its potential danger. They are not considered to be deadly, but venom can cause swelling, necrosis, and severe pain. Seek immediate medical treatment for any venomous snake bite.

Classification
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata (Serpentes)
Family:Viperidae
Genus:Sistrurus
Species:catenatus edwardsii
Common Name:Desert Massasauga, Buzztail


Relatives in same Genus
  Western Massasauga (S. catenatus tergeminus)
  Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake (S. miliarius barbouri)
  Carolina Pigmy Rattlesnake (S. miliarius miliarius)
  Western Pigmy Rattlesnake (S. miliarius streckeri)