Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Crotalus atrox

Diamonds are Forever…

Well anyway, let’s hope so. The Western Diamondback’s populations are fairly stable throughout most of their range in-spite of irresponsible hunting practices such as rattlesnake roundups that are popular in parts of the southwestern United States.

The Western Diamondback gets its name from the “diamond-shaped pattern on their back. There are actually several species of rattlesnakes that have a more or less diamond pattern but the Western Diamondback is the most well known and widespread.

These large pit-vipers range throughout most of the south-western United States and down into Mexico. They are one of the largest venomous snakes in our country, commonly reaching lengths of over 5 feet, the average being about 42 inches. Practically all rattlesnakes feed on rodents and small mammals, literally millions of rodents each year are consumed by snakes in general, cutting down on the spread of disease and reducing damage to crops and property.

Conservation Status: Least concern.  Populations remain somewhat stable but decreasing in many areas due to human encroachment into wild areas, such as suburban housing developments, resulting in habitat loss.

Did You Know?
The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is a venomous species but they do not always envenomate when they bite. It is not uncommon for the diamondback to deliver what is called a “dry bite” which is probably a warning of what may happen if the snake continues to feel threatened.