Deadly Mojave rattler population is spreading

The coral snake- our only North American relative of the cobra, the krait, the taipan, and the other deadly snakes of Africa, Asia, Australia and the oceans- is our most venomous serpent. But it has a competitor.

Snake venoms are divided into two groups: the hemotoxic, which attack the blood and other tissues, and the neurotoxic, which attack the nervous system and paralyze the diaphragm, preventing the victim from breathing. The coral snake and its Old World relatives have neurotoxic venom; our American pit vipers (the cottonmouth, the copperhead, and most rattlers) have hemotoxic venom. But the vicious and deadly Mojave Green rattler is a rarity: its venom is both hemotoxic and neurotoxic, and is nearly as potent as the cobra's.

And it is rapidly expanding its range.


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