In the Mojave Desert of the US, desert snakes can be quite common, and a number of different varieties and species can be found. Rattlesnakes, typically the most commonly thought of desert snake in the US, are pit vipers, which means they have two small pits beneath their nostrils that allow them to detect heat. This allows these types of snakes to hunt for warm-blooded prey such as small rodents, even in total darkness. Rattlesnakes are usually identified by their triangular heads and the jointed rattles found at the base of their bodies.
In desert regions outside the US, such as the Arabian and Saharan Deserts, desert vipers are a common type of desert snake and are typically feared by those who inhabit or routinely cross such places. These include the Sahara sand viper that has a sandy brown coloration which makes it very difficult to spot until an unwary person or small animal is too close. The Arabian horned viper is also common in the Arabian Desert and is usually nocturnal, avoiding the scorching heat of the day in preference for hunting its prey in the dark of night.