Desert Animals

Class: Reptilia: Reptiles Diet: Small mammals
Order: Squamata: Lizards and Snakes 
Size: body:43 - 82 cm ( 17 - 32 1/4 in)
Family: Crotalidae: Pit Vipers Conservation Status: Non-threatened
Scientific Name: Crotalus cerastes Habitat: desert, rocky hillsides
Range: Southwestern U.S.A.: Southern California, Nevada and Utah, south to Mexico

Size of SidewinderA small agile snake, the sidewinder has a distinctive hornlike projection over each eye. It is chiefly nocturnal and takes refuge in the burrow of another animal or under a bush during the day. At night it emerges to hunt its prey, mainly small rodents, such as pocket mice and kangaroo rats, and lizards. A desert inhabitant, this snake moves with a sideways motion, known as sidewinding, thought to be the most efficient mode of movement for a snake on sand. It throws its body into lateral waves, only two short sections of it touching the ground. All the snake's weight, therefore, is pushing against the ground at these points, and this provides the leverage to move it sideways. As it travels, the snake leaves a trail of parallel J-shaped markings. An ideal form of movement in open, sparsely vegetated country, sidewinding has the advantage of reducing contact between the snake's body and the hot sand. Sidewinders mate in April or May, and the female gives birth to 5 to 18 live young about 3 months later. 

Range of Sidewinder
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