Mexican lance-headed rattlesnake

At the Detroit Zoo
The Mexican lance-headed rattlesnake can be found inside the Holden Reptile Conservation Center, located near the middle of the park. There, visitors can learn about the 70 different species (and approximately 180 individuals) of reptiles at the Detroit Zoo, one-fifth of which are considered threatened or endangered in the wild.


The dark blotched pattern of the snake is very distinctive compared to other rattlesnakes. The blotches are often oval or elongated at the front part of the body and become more circular toward mid-body. Four to seven crossbands are usually at the tail. Typically it has a tan, brown, gray or sometimes white underside.


Scientific name: Crotalus polystictus
Continent: North America
Habitat: Grasslands, pine and oak forests with rocky outcrops, slides and clear patches associated with the Mexican Plateau
Size: 2 to 2.5 feet long
Weight: 7 to 10.5 ounces
Diet: Amphibians, other reptiles, insects and sometimes small mammals
Reproduction: Three to 12 live young
: 20 to 25 years
Conservation Status: Least Concern



Rattlesnakes add a new rattle each time they shed their skin. How frequently they outgrow their skin depends upon how fast they grow. When they are healthy and well-fed, they may shed three or four times per year. Therefore it is a myth that a rattlesnake's age can be told by counting its rattles.