The Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii) is one of several species of rattlesnakes that inhabits the area around La Ventana, living exclusively near rocky areas. They eat mostly rodents, and sometimes birds and lizards.
Rattlesnakes are ambush predators, meaning they will lie in place for days on end, waiting for prey to pass by. Most of the time, their ambush spots will be in rock crevasses or “hidey-holes.” They are semi-nocturnal in the winter, and fully nocturnal in the summer.
Rattlesnakes are one of the most feared and unjustly killed groups of snakes. Being venomous, people are scared of them and may act on those fears, which is the reason they are in decline. Yet, like many other venomous snakes, if you leave them alone you are extremely unlikely to be bitten. And it’s pretty easy to leave them alone if you just pay attention: they like to live hidden in rocks, so they are hard to find in the first place, and their rattle serves as a warning to be cautious. The majority of rattlesnake bites – over 90%! – happen because people either are not paying attention and accidentally step on them, or are trying to catch or kill them.
If you are bitten, the best thing to do is stay calm and find the nearest place with anti-venom, typically at a hospital. In La Ventana, the closest hospital with anti-venom is in La Paz. Being bitten hurts a lot but most snake bites are not fatal. Ideally, you should get anti-venom as quickly as possible; for rattlesnakes, you have at least three hours.