Prairie Rattlesnake

A tan snake with dark splotches and rattler in a coil on dirt
The prairie rattlesnake is one of six reptile species and the largest species found in Yellowstone.

NPS

 

Scientific name

Crotalis viridis

Identification

  • Can be more than 48 inches in length.
  • Greenish gray to olive green, greenish brown, light brown, or yellowish with dark brown splotches down its back that are bordered in white.

Habitat and Behavior

  • Only dangerously venomous snake in the park.
  • Lives in the lower Yellowstone River areas of the park, including Reese Creek, Stephens Creek, and Rattlesnake Butte, where the habitat is drier and warmer than elsewhere in the park.
  • Usually defensive rather than aggressive.
  • Only two snake bites are known during the history of the park.
 
The head of a brown spotted snake among grass

Reptiles

There are six reptile species in Yellowstone.

A tan and black snake on a rocky surface

Bullsnake

Bullsnakes are often mistaken for rattlesnakes because of their appearance and behavior.

A brown snake on gravel next to a human hand

Rubber Boa

Rubber boas are usually found in rocky areas near streams or rivers with nearby shrubs or trees.

A dark gray, tan, and white striped lizard with small spikes on gravel

Sagebrush Lizard

The sagebrush lizard is the only lizard in Yellowstone.

A black and white snake on dead grass

Common Gartersnake

Common gartersnakes are only found in southern parts of the park.

A white and tan striped snake with black dots on a rock

Terrestrial Gartersnake

Terrestrial gartersnakes are the most common reptile in Yellowstone.

Last updated: June 14, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

(307) 344-7381

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