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February 7, 2008
By Vikki Ford
Bears, snakes and lizards, oh my! With large animals roaming freely in the Great Basin, don’t forget to watch for the venomous reptiles, which can inflict serious harm without fast and proper treatment.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has released a detailed publication about venomous reptiles in Nevada and measures for prevention and aid, which is available for free and online on the UNCE website or at your local Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) office.
UNCE’s M.L. Robinson and Maria M. Ryan teamed with Polly M. Conrad of the NDOW to inform residents about the state’s snake and lizard species. Only 12 species are considered venomous, but six can be dangerous to people and pets.
Snakes pose the biggest threat in Nevada, home to five dangerous species of the Viperidae (pit vipers) family, which includes Sidewinder, Mohave, Speckled, Western Diamondback and Great Basin rattlesnakes.
“It is very important to remember that rattlesnakes do not always rattle their tails in warning and a rattle does not always precede a strike,” the article states.
Of the five species, Western Diamondback is the largest venomous snake in Nevada with a body length of 3 to 6 feet, and it can deliver a large volume of venom. This species, though, is found only in the Lake Mohave, Searchlight and Laughlin areas of southern Nevada. The Western Rattlesnake is the most-represented species throughout Nevada.
The Gila Monster is the only venomous lizard in the United States and is protected by federal and state law. The lizard, though, spends up to 98 percent of its life underground. Prevention is the best way to avoid trouble with reptiles, and most bites result from deliberate harassment of reptiles. Certain first aid measures in the event of a bite are also in the fact sheet.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to learn about Nevada’s most dangerous reptiles.
Visit the UNCE website and click on the publications tab and search “venomous reptiles” under the title category. The publication can easily be folded to take with you when hiking or camping.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension