ANIMAL: Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Crotalus atrox Type of Animal: Viper Habitat: 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 Location(s): 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 Appearance: 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 Food/Diet: 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: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers Lifestyle: Solitary or small groups (especially during hibernation) Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young-Snakelet Group-Den/Rhumba Weight: Male-6 lbs Female-4 lbs Gestation: 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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