Brandon La Forest (HERP.MX)
Totonacan rattlesnake; Totonacas rattlesnake
Federal and State Protections
Countries of Occurrence
150cm (59in) - 170cm (66.9in)
States or Providence
San Luis Potosí, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Querétaro, Hidalgo, and Veracruz.
Crotalus totonacus is a diurnal/ crepuscular species most often is associated with watercourses. This large rattlesnake can only be found in a few states of northeastern Mexico along the Sierra Madre Oriental. It occupies a diverse range of habitats, from sea level to 6500 ft elevation, including moist hardwood forests, montane oak forests, and sub-montane deciduous scrub. They prey on birds and small mammals such as rodents, opossums, and squirrels. The Totonacan rattlesnake is diurnal and crepuscular by nature, active mainly in the morning and daytime.
Little research has been done on this species due to its isolated range and low density despite growing to lengths of around 5 ft. We are still finding new information about the distribution of this species. It is believed that the Totonacan rattlesnake may hybridize with other species nearby such as the black-tailed rattlesnake and the Central American rattlesnake. More research into their ecology and biology is needed to draw any certain conclusions.
Growing urbanization which causes the fragmentation of forested habitat presents a direct threat to this species.
An interesting observation regarding this species was when two biologists encountered a large male (~170cm) fighting an ocelot cat. Despite heavy injury, the snake was able to ward off the ocelot. Unfortunately, the individual later succumbed to its wounds despite attempted veterinary treatment.