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Photo credit:

Brandon La Forest (HERP.MX)

Common name

Totonacan/Totonacas Rattlesnake

Scientific name

Crotalus totonacus

Conservation Status


Federal and State Protections


Range Map


Countries of Occurrence


Adult size

150cm (59in) - 170cm (66.9in)

States or Providence 

San Luis Potosí, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Querétaro, Hidalgo, and Veracruz.


Species Description

Crotalus totonacus is a species that 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 6500ft 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 5ft. 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.

Fun fact: 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.

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