Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake   Crotalus atrox

Type of Animal:

Flat coastal plains, hillsides, steep rocky canyons, desert, sandy creosote areas, desert scrub, mesquite grassland, forests, plains, coastal areas, desert flats, coastal prairies, river bottoms, dry rocky shrubland, chaparral, rocky areas

C & W Arkansas, Oklahoma (except for NE, NC, & panhandle), Texas (excluding N panhandle & E part), extreme S Nevada, SE California, E, S, & C New Mexico, W & S Arizona, extreme S Kansas, much of N Mexico, & some islands in Gulf of California

Color pattern usually dusty gray-brown ground color, can also be pinkish-brown, brick red, yellowish, pinkish, or chalk white, noticeable diamond shapes on back, dark gray-brown to brown blotches, first blotches rectangular, becoming more hexagonal, then diamond-shaped, tail has black bands separated by ash white/pale grey interspaces, triangular head

Mice, rats, gophers, prairie dogs, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, voles, rabbits, jackrabbits, moles, birds (especially ground-dwellers) up to size of burrowing owls & roadrunners (latter sometimes eating snake in fights to death), lizards, other snakes, amphibians, fish, grasshoppers, beetles, ants, centipedes, spiders

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers

Solitary or small groups (especially during hibernation)

Additional Info:


Male-6 lbs
Female-4 lbs

6-7 months 

Life Span:
20 years

Body Length:
Male-5 ft
Female-3 ft
Young-10 in

Main predators are coyotes, bobcats, raptors, other snakes (including larger members of own species), foxes, roadrunners, turkeys, pigs, & badgers.

Like many rattlesnakes, females give birth to 10-20 live young.

Males fight by doing combat dance.

Diurnal/crepuscular during spring & fall, nocturnal/crepuscular in summer.

Hibernates in winter.

Deer/other ungulates will trample/stomp snake.

Sexually mature at 3 years old.

Fun Fact(s):
Young born w/ fully-loaded venom.

They eat once every 2-3 weeks.

Venom is hemotoxic.

While highly venomous, they’re not highly aggressive & prefer to rattle first. They do stand their ground, though.

They can move rattle back & forth 60 or more times a second.

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