• Lower Cliff Dwelling


    National Monument Arizona

Blacktail Rattlesnake

blacktail rattlesnake

Blacktail Rattlesnake

NPS Photo

Blacktail Rattlesnake
Crotalus molossus

Body length: 28 - 49 1/2"
Diet: Small mammals

Blacktails are large, brightly-patterned rattlesnakes that are distinguished by dark coloring above the rattles. Although considered mild-mannered, the size and toxicity of this snake make it no less dangerous than other rattlesnake species. Blacktails are found here in hilly areas south of Route 188, and are often seen along the Upper Cliff Dwelling trail.

Although it is not possible to know how the earlier inhabitants of Tonto Basin felt about rattlesnakes, we can expect that they both feared and respected them as we do today. Paintings on bowls often depict abstract images of snakes. Although they are more common in Hohokam artifacts from the Phoenix area, images of rattlesnakes are sometimes found on stone and shell artifacts which have been excavated from Tonto Basin.

Did You Know?

crested saguaro

Tonto National Monument is home to a crested saguaro. Botanists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning or freeze damage. About one in 150,000 saguaros develop this unusual growth.