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Prairie Rattlesnake - Crotalus viridis - 1 Lb. Legal for California
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Crotalus viridis - 1 Lb. Legal for all States including California. No other snake in Montana has rattles. Adults have a triangular head, blunt nose, narrow neck, and stout body; they range in length from 15 to 60 inches. The background color above varies from pale green to brown; a series of brown or black blotches edged with a dark and then a light line extends the length of the body. The blotches often merge into rings on the tail. There are also blotches on the sides. The belly is pale yellow to white and lacks blotches. All rattlesnakes have a heat-sensing pit located between the nostril and the eye. The fangs are hollow and hinged, allowing them to be folded back against the roof of the mouth. The tail ends in a rattle that helps warn potential predators of the snake's presence.
Prairie Rattlesnakes favor open and arid country but are also found in ponderosa pine stands and mixed grass-coniferous forests. They are more likely to be encountered on south-facing slopes and in areas with rock outcrops. Prairie Rattlesnakes den communally, but range up to 7 miles from the dens during the summer. Females give birth to 4 to 21 young in late summer; the young are marked similarly to adults, but colors are brighter. Prairie Rattlesnakes prey on a variety of animals, including mice, ground squirrels, and rabbits. Gravid females may aggregate at basking sites (rookeries) (Gannon and Secoy 1985). May be most common near broken country and breaks. Land use changes from range to irrigated farmland may adversely affect population (Pendlebury 1977).