Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Federal and State Protections
Countries of Occurrence
United States of America
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)
91.4cm (36in) - 213cm (84in)
This southwestern rattlesnake species can get very large at 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.