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Photo credit:

Derek Dykstra

Common name

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Scientific name

Crotalus atrox

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Federal and State Protections

Range Map

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Countries of Occurrence

United States of America

Adult size

91.4cm (36in) - 213cm (84in)

States or Providence 

Texas (US), Oklahoma (US), Arkansas (US), New Mexico (US), Arizona (US), Nevada (US), California (US), Baja California (MX), Sonora (MX), Chihuahua (MX), Coahuila (MX), Nuevo Leon (MX), Tamaulipas (MX), Sinaloa (MX), Durango (MX), Zacatecas (MX), San Luis Potosi (MX), Hidalgo (MX), Veracruz (MX), Guanajuato (MX), Queretaro (MX), Puebla (MX)

Disputed - Kansas (US)

Counties

Mohave (AZ), La Paz (AZ), Yuma (AZ), Maricopa (AZ), Pima (AZ), Santa Cruz (AZ), Cochise (AZ), Greenlee (AZ), Graham (AZ), Pinal (AZ), Gila (AZ), Yavapai (AZ)

Species Description

This southwestern rattlesnake species can get very large, up to about 7 feet long, though generally they are much smaller. They are generalist predators as juveniles, while they grow into primarily mammal-specialist predators as adults. Western Diamondbacks are important predators for rabbits, gophers, and other medium-sized mammals. They are easily distinguished from many other rattlesnake species by their stark black-and-white tail before their rattle.

The western diamondback rattlesnake occupies a diverse range of habitats from sea level to 7000 feet elevation.

Western diamondbacks are still subject to intense human persecution (including "rattlesnake round-ups") where hundreds of individuals (including juveniles and gravid females) are killed.

The status of this species is disputed in the US state of Kansas, where individuals have been collected - both within and outside of suitable habitat. Some authorities these to be the result of human introductions, while others believe a native population is present in a small area near the Oklahoma border.