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The venomous sidewinder is nicknamed the horned rattler for the upturned scales over each eye. These hornlike scales fold down to protect the eyes when the snake is moving through sand and burrows. A sidewinder uses a unique sideways form of locomotion. With its body moving in an S-shaped curve, it can travel quickly and the entire body is not touching the hot sand at the same time. The sidewinder is an ambush hunter and will often bury itself in the sand to wait for unsuspecting prey, with only the watchful head remaining above ground. Sidewinders inhabit the deserts of the southwestern United States. They prefer sandy washes or dunes with mesquite or creosote bushes.
Our Animal's Story
We have one sidewinder on exhibit in the Great Southwest building. He was born at Zoo Atlanta in June 2014 and arrived at ZooAmerica in July of the same year. Upon arrival at our zoo, he was about six to eight inches long. As an adult, he will reach about 30 inches in length.