WESTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE


Scientific name: Crotalus atrox

Size

The average size of a mature Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is 3 - 5 feet in length, with some getting as large as 7 feet. The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is the largest rattlesnake in the western United States.

Description

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is a heavy, thick-bodied snake. The body of the snake varies in color and can be yellowish grey, grey, tan, or pinkish and has dark diamond-shaped blotches that form a pattern along the snake's spine. The diamonds are outlined in a cream color. The diamond pattern often fades near the tail and turns into a banding pattern of broad black and white rings at the tail. The end of the tail has a rattle on it.

There is a dark cheek-stripe on both sides of the head that starts at the eye and runs diagonally down and backwards through the corner of mouthline. This stripe is outlined on both sides by cream-colored stripes. The underside of the body is typically creamy off-white in color.

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake has elliptical pupils that look like cat's eyes and like all pit vipers, has a heat-sensing pit between the nostril and eye on each side of its head. The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake has a large, triangular head that is wider than the neck when viewed from above.

Distribution

In the United States, the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is found in Arizona, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Map of US states the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is found in.
Map does not show area of true distribution, only the states in which there is a population.
Actual distribution in any highlighted state may be limited.

Western Diamonback Rattlesnake
Photo used by permission:
© 2001 Glenn McCrea

Western Diamonback Rattlesnake Closeup
Photo used by permission:
© 2003 Wolfgang Wuster

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake camoflauged
Photo used by permission:
© 2002 Jeff Miller

For more information on venomous snakes, please see the Venomous Links page.


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