The Southern Pacific Rattler in California

Can you count the rattles?
Can you count the rattles?
This particular So. Pacific Rattler seemed very relaxed during its photo shoot.
This particular So. Pacific Rattler seemed very relaxed during its photo shoot.
It slowly moved away.
It slowly moved away.
It hid by a rock where it felt safe. This area was laden with rodents and lizards.
It hid by a rock where it felt safe. This area was laden with rodents and lizards.
Note the bulge--we felt it had recently eaten and was disgesting its prey.
Note the bulge--we felt it had recently eaten and was disgesting its prey.
Courtesy of Gary Larson's The Far Side.
Courtesy of Gary Larson's The Far Side.
GREEN area shows the range of the Southern Pacific Rattler in The Golden State.
GREEN area shows the range of the Southern Pacific Rattler in The Golden State. | Source

An aggressive subspecies!

The Southern Pacific Rattler is a subspecies of the Western Diamondback. It is found throughout the Southern California Mountains as well as portions of the High Desert such as Hesperia. It has also been sighted by this writer in Oak Glen, a gorgeous Apple Orchard Community near Yucaipa.{ They tend to be very dark, some of them almost blue-black. Other photos show some auburn coloration.}

This photo is of a LARGE adult So. Pacific Rattler we encountered at an altitude of approximately 8,000 feet near Angelus Oaks, California. It appeared to be approximately 4 ft. long and as wide as a buff man's arm. Although this type of snake tends to lunge and be aggressive (I can attest to that!) this snake in the photo had recently eaten and seemed affable enough--allowing us to take its photo with only an occasional hiss and rattle. This photo is courtesy of J. Siess. He took it at a safe distance I can assure you.

These photos are courtesy of J. Siess; they are protected by copyright laws.

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Comments 5 comments

Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 6 years ago from Southern Georgia

It's difficult to tell how large the snake is in the picture. How long can they grow to be?


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 6 years ago from Northern California Author

This one was nearly 3 to 4 ft. It's the largest I've seen. They probably grow to be up to 4 ft or a bit longer. This one was estimated to be 8 yrs. old.


dongately profile image

dongately 6 years ago from Sana Clarita, California

Interesting. I once encounted a huge rattler in Sequoia National Forest, about 20 miles from Porterville. I worry about my wife because she hikes in the mountains 2 or 3 time a week, but she assures me rattlesnakes are not dangerous if you don't get too close - but what if she doesn't see one and steps on it? Also, have you read about the pythons and anacondas that are now in the Florida Everglades?


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 6 years ago from Northern California Author

Yes, I used to live in Orlando, Florida. Rattlesnakes can cause major damage to tissues, even if the venom is extracted. We hike with "snake bite" kits, which are somewhat controversial. Thanks for reading this!


Emily 23 months ago

This is cratysl clear. Thanks for taking the time!

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