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Western Diamond Backed Rattlesnake

Western Diamondbacked Rattlesnake

Crotalus atrox
Dangerously Venomous Rattlesnakes

Family Viperidae Vipers
Genius Crotalus Rattlesnakes
Species Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake

Diamond Backed Rattlesnake
Crotalus atrox

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The western diamondback rattlesnake, also known as the Texas diamond-back (Crotalus atrox), is a type of rattlesnake and a member of the viper family. It can be found in the southwestern regions of the United States and Mexico.

Similar to all other rattlesnakes and vipers, it possesses venom. It is believed to be the primary cause of snakebite fatalities in northern Mexico and is responsible for the highest number of snakebites in the United States.
This species inhabits a vast area that includes the Southwestern United States and the northern part of Mexico. Currently, western diamondback rattlesnakes are not facing any significant threats and are not considered endangered.

Distinctive Markings

Rattlesnakes exhibit a diverse range of coloration and patterns unique to their species. Their coloration can include shades of gray, black, brown, olive, or yellow, and their bodies may feature patterns such as bands, diamonds, or spots. These distinctive markings differ from one species to another and serve purposes in both camouflage and identification.

Triangular Head

Rattlesnakes commonly possess a head with a triangular shape, notably broader than their neck. This characteristic is frequently employed to differentiate them from non-venomous snakes, which typically have narrower, more rounded heads.


The primary purpose of the rattle is to serve as a warning signal. When a rattlesnake feels threatened, it shakes its rattle rapidly, producing a distinctive, buzzing sound. This serves as an alert to potential threats, including humans and other animals, to stay away. It's a form of communication that helps reduce conflicts and avoid unnecessary confrontations.


Fully grown adults typically reach a length of around 4 ft. Encounters with specimens exceeding 5 ft are uncommon, and those surpassing 6 ft are exceptionally rare. The largest reliably documented length for this species is 7 ft. Notably, males exhibit a significant size advantage over females, although this size disparity doesn't become evident until after they've reached sexual maturity. In terms of weight, medium-sized Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes of this species generally range from 3 to 6 lb, while exceptionally large individuals have been reported to weigh up to 15 lb. Overall, it ranks as the second-largest among rattlesnake species, with the eastern diamondback rattlesnake as its closest relative and the second-largest venomous snake in North America.

Geographic Range

It is found in the United States from central Arkansas to southeastern and Central California, south into Mexico as far as northern SinaloaHidalgo and northern Veracruz. Disjunct populations exist in southern Veracruz and southeastern Oaxaca.


The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is known to inhabit diverse environments, spanning from level coastal plains to rugged, rocky canyons and slopes. It is closely linked with a wide array of vegetation types, including desert landscapes, sandy creosote regions, mesquite grasslands, arid scrublands, and pine-oak forests. Notably, it's not unusual to encounter these rattlesnakes on rural asphalt roads during the early evening hours. The warmth retained by these surfaces, even as the surrounding temperatures cool, makes them a common sight in such locations.

Other names for Diamondbacked Rattlesanke

Other common names for this species include western diamond-backed rattlesnake, 
adobe snake, Arizona diamond rattlesnake, coon tail, desert diamond-back, desert diamond rattlesnake, fierce rattlesnake, spitting rattlesnake, buzz tail, Texan rattlesnake, Texas diamond-back, and Texas rattler.

All Rattlesnakes in California are Venomous and Potentially Dangerous 

What's the scientific name for Diamond Backed Rattlesnake?

Crotalus atrox

Where do Diamondbacked Rattle Snakes Live?

The Diamond backed Rattle snakes inhabits desert areas in the southern Mohave Desert and throughout most of the Sonoran Desert in California, the species throughout its range inhabits arid and semiarid areas including plains and mountains, woodlands and pine forests, deserts, canyons and rocky vegetated foothills.

How many offspring does Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes have?

Average number of offspring is 14.

What do Diamondback Rattlesnakes eat?

Cro­talus atrox preys on small mam­mals and birds, and some­times other rep­tiles and am­phib­ians, and even fish and in­ver­te­brates.

How long do Diamond-backed Rattle snakes Live?

Diamond backed Rattle snakes can live from 15-20 years in captivity.

Why do Rattlesnakes have Rattle?

The Rattlesnakes rattle is a warning sign to warn potential aggressors to back away before it strikes, although its important to remember that Rattlesnakes don't always give a warning before they strike. 

What do Rattle Snakes Look Like?

Rattlesnake have a particular color and pattern, all rattlesnakes in California have a blotched pattern on the back and a rattle on the end of the tail which is often used as a warning.

Why is the Diamondbacked Rattlesnake dangerous?

Because of its notorious reputation due to its aggressive nature

How quick can Diamondbacked Rattlesnake strike?

The average rattlesnake strike is just under 3 meters per second, that is about 6.5 MPH

How large is the Diamondbacked Rattlesnake?

The average adult rattlesnake is 4 ft in length

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