top of page

Photo credit:

Pedro Nahuat-Cervera, unedited.
Link to license:

Common name

Yucatan Neotropical/Yucatan/Tzabcan Rattlesnake

Scientific name

Crotalus tzabcan

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Federal and State Protections


Range Map


Countries of Occurrence

Mexico, Belize, Guatemala

Adult size

Up to 62.9in (160cm)

States or Providence 

Quintana Roo (MX), Campeche (MX), Yucatán (MX), El Petén (GT), Belize (BZ), Cayo (BZ), Corozal (BZ), Orange Walk (BZ), Stann Creek (BZ), Toledo (BZ)


Species Description

The Yucatan Neotropical rattlesnake, also called the Yucatan rattlesnake or the Tzabcan rattlesnake, is a medium-sized species endemic to the Yucatan Peninsula. This species specializes in eating rodents, which account for over 93% of its prey. Yucatan rattlesnakes utilize coastal dry forest, tropical pine savanna and tropical wet forests, and has been observed swimming in open lagoons.

Like its cousin, Crotalus simus, Crotalus tzabcan exhibits an ontogenetic shift in venom, where juveniles possess neurotoxin but slowly develop a hemotoxin as they grow to adulthood.

An interesting defensive behavior displayed by this species is neck-flattening, where the snake flattens its neck laterally to look larger. A possible explanation for this behavior is that by making the neck look larger, the snake can cause a predator to misjudge its ability to properly target the neck and subdue the head.

Fun fact: This snake is named for the word "tzabcan", which means rattlesnake in Mayan.

bottom of page