When speaking of these snakes, the local herpers usually refer to them as "lepidus", sometimes as "rock rattlers". Lepidus are my personal favorite among the venomous snakes of the area. They are seldom found over 24" long. The longest one I have found measured 31 1/2" to the base of the rattles; It came from about one mile north of Loma Alta, Val Verde County. In the eastern part of the range they tend to be light gray snakes with black markings. I have found some in the Hill Country and Val Verde County which have had brown in the bands. On the river road they tend to be more brownish or golden colored, although I found one very dark one near Redford which looked like a slate gray banded rock rattlesnake (C. l. klauberi) The ones from the Davis mountains tend to be darker, especially the females, although I have found a couple of light gray ones in the area. Some of the specimens from Musquiz canyon (Jeff Davis County) have changed colors two or three times in the course of a year. I had one female which was dark gray when I caught her, but three months later she was a brown color and several months later she was a reddish-brown.
They are a fast striking snake with a decent venom.
For an account of a bite from a lepidus, click here
This lepidus was collected by "copperhead" in the base of the hill country off Hwy. 377, Val Verde County. Note from the eyes that it is "in blue" (preparing to shed.) Also note that the banding is brownish, rather than black; this is more typical of the lepidus found in the hill country of central Texas.
These rock rattlesnakes are from Musquiz Canyon in southern Jeff Davis County. I like the variation of color in this population and the way some of them change color over a period of time.
A rock rattlesnake from the big hill on the river road, Presidio County. There is good variation in the lepidus from this area. They tend to be lighter than the lepidus from the Davis Mountains, but darker than the ones from the eastern populations.
This lepidus is from Black Gap road, southern Brewster County. There have been few lepidus taken from this locality.
This lepidus is from the Eagle Mountains in Hudspeth County. It was found in an area of dark reddish/brown rock formations.