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What is a Panamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi)

What is a Panamint Rattlesnake

Panamint Rattlesnake Rattler

Flickr attrition to Yathin – image not modified

Panamint Rattlesnake Overview

The Panamint, yes Panamint not Panama, Rattlesnake is a large bodied pit viper found in the American southwest primarily in central and southern Nevada as well as south and central eastern California. Given that this is a relatively new species, there isn’t a whole lot of literature or studies on the snake species as a whole.

In 2007, the Panamint Rattlesnake was classified as its own species under the scientific name, Crotalus stephensi or C. stephensi. Crotalus includes all rattlesnakes in the pit viper family known as Viperidae. The species name stephensi is actually an homage to a past curator of the San Diego Society of Natural History by the name of Frank Stephens. 

The Panamint Rattlesnake before 2007 was considered a subspecies of the Speckled Rattlesnake, Crotalus mitchellii, but after careful studying of their DNA and morphology, scientists realized this snake is one of a kind and not an offshoot or subspecies.

Like all rattlesnakes found in the southwest American deserts, the Panamint Rattlesnake is venomous and all bites should be considered extremely dangerous and treated with urgency. If antivenin is used within an appropriate amount of time, the odds of survival are extremely high baring an allergic reaction to either the snake venom or antivenin. While it is possible to survive a bite from this snake, you run the risk of the venom causing severe bodily damage as well as organ failure and if you’re unlucky, death. 

Related Article >> Snakes in Nevada


(Crotalus mitchellii stephensi)

Related Article >> Reptiles

Size and Body Description

The Panamint Rattlesnake is a medium sized rattlesnake having a body that is thin at the tail and head while gradually getting thicker towards the middle. The coloration of this snake is usually a light tan, yellowish, brown, pinkish, off white, or brownish gray. Panamint Rattlesnakes have bands that run the length of its body from head to tail as well as down its sides. The bands are usually continuous from the top of the snake down its sides, but have been seen with skin breaks in between them giving them an upper and lower band appearance. You can expect to see either gray, brown, and brownish red colored bands with the outline having a darker color to them.


Panamint Rattlesnakes can grow anywhere from 23 to 52 inches in length with the average being around 2 to 3 feet long.


Like other rattlesnakes in the area, the Panamint Rattlesnake will eat on small mammals, lizards, and birds.


Following the trend of southwest American rattlesnakes, Panamints will start mating around spring and will give birth sometime in late summer, usually July or August. These snakes can have anywhere from 2 to 12 young at a time and once born, the young are fully able to bite and inject venom into its victim.


The range of where you can find a Panamint Rattlesnake is actually decently small. As of right now, they are only found in central and south western Nevada and central and eastern California, as stated before. These snakes like to live among the boulders and bushes in the desert mountains of their respective state.


As of writing this, the population is considered stable and there are no major protections for the Panamint Rattlesnake in either Nevada or California.

References Used

  • Panamint Rattlesnake on Wikipedia
  • The Reptile Database

What is a Panamint Rattlesnake