• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas


Black tailed rattlesnake

Black tailed rattlesnakes are frequently seen in the park.

Dave Prival /NPS


Four species of rattlesnakes are found in the park. The western diamondback is the most common of these. Since some other rattlesnakes also have a diamond pattern, look for the pattern of same-sized alternating white and black rings on the snake’s tail.

Black-tail rattlesnakes are common throughout the mountains and desert. They often have a green coloration, and the tail is solid black. Rock rattlesnakes rely upon protective coloration and seldom rattle unless really provoked. Within the park you may see two color phases: a grayish phase in the low desert, where white and gray limestone predominates; and a maroon phase in theChisosMountains, where the igneous rocks are more reddish-brown. Mojave rattlesnakes are the least often encountered, which is perhaps a good thing because their venom is the most toxic, affecting the nervous system. Mojave rattlers may have a greenish tint and have an alternating pattern of wide white bands and narrow black bands on the tail. Snake bites are rare inBig Bend, yet many visitors are concerned about encountering snakes.

To avoid being bitten by a snake, watch where you put your hands and feet, always carry a flashlight at night, and never disturb or pick up any snake. If you are bitten by a snake, remain calm, try to identify the snake that bit you, and get medical assistance as soon as possible. Keep in mind that physical exertion spreads the flow of venom through the body. Many hikers carry snake bite kits, which are available at most sporting goods stores.

Did You Know?

Wilson ranch home near Oak Spring

Many people have searched for the lost mine and other metallic deposits in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park. One of these was Homer Wilson, a geologist, who divided his time between ranching and mining from 1929-1942. More...