Western Diamondback Rattle Snake

I saw this amazing snake out by where I work. He was all stretched out sunning himself. I did not have my camera with me, so I went back in the building to get it. By the time I got back he had started heading back to where he came from, folding back on himself. He was quite amazing, I am so glad I got to take photos so that I could see him up close… it is not a good idea to get up close to a rattlesnake.

Western diamondback rattlesnake Crotalus atrox is a venomous pitviper species found in the United States and Mexico. Found in areas ranging from flat coastal plains to steep rocky canyons and hillsides. It is associated with many different vegetation types, including desert, sandy creosote areas, mesquite grassland, desert scrub, and pine-oak forests. Towards the southern edge of its range, this species may be found in thorn forest and tropical deciduous forest.

When threatened they usually coil and rattle to warn aggressors. There is suspicion that rattlesnakes living around human population centers do not rattle as often because it leads to the snake’s discovery and consequent destruction. The young are fully capable of delivering a venomous bite from the moment they are born.

Adults commonly grow to about four feet length, and very rarely up to seven feet. Males become much larger than females. The tail has 2-8  black bands separated by ash white or pale gray bands; this led to the nickname of “coon tail.” They can live up to 20 years. This species is ovoviviparous; the young pierce their thin egg membranes immediately before birth and are born live.

They hibernate in winter in caves or burrows. The adult snakes have no natural predators, though hawks, eagles, coyotes, foxes and other snakes are known to prey on younger snakes.

These snakes can go for up to two years without food in the wild. They are an important predator of many small rodents, rabbits, and birds. It is primarily a nocturnal animal, hunting for its prey on warm summer nights. Rattlesnakes swallow their prey whole, then digest as the food passes though the body. On averge, Rattlesnakes in the wild eat only once every 2 to 3 weeks.

The venom of the diamondback isn’t particularly toxic, the size of the snake allows a larger capacity of venom which is released from its two prominent fangs. All pit vipers have the ability to control the flow of venom through their fangs, allowing the diamondback to release most of its venom in a single strike. If bitten professional medical attention should be sought immediately.

Photo of the entire snake



~ by Meg on September 27, 2009.

One Response to “Western Diamondback Rattle Snake”

  1. Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google. I have a blog. I’ll bookmark your site.

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