Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

(Crotalus atrox)

SIZE: 8"-10" at birth (born live) and up to 7+ feet as an adult. This makes the C. Atrox the Largest Rattler in the Western US. In fact, in the U.S., only the Eastern Diamondback (C. adamanteus) gets larger. It by the way is the largest Rattler in the world.

Range in Texas: The entire state with the exception of the Piney woods areas (East and South East TX).

Comments: The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is by far the most common rattler in Hudspeth County. This species of rattler is responsible for more envenomations (bites in which venom is injected) than any other rattler in the United States. The atrox is an extremely dangerous snake due to its potent hemotoxin, neurotoxin, tissue digesting proteases and sheer volume of venom delivered when it bites.  Even if one survives a bite, which statistically you will, the loss of fingers, toes and even arms and legs due to tissue destruction is common.  This being said, the diamondback is a much needed rodent control predator. They do not go looking for people to bite and encounters when not looking for them are rare. The one exception is while they are crossing the road. Of the hundreds of atrox that I have encountered in the wild over the years, almost all of them when confronted lie still hoping to remain unseen. If they feel that they have been targeted, they will coil, rattle and crawl backwards in an attempt to flee. Most will only bite when pushed into doing so (more often than not when someone is trying to kill it, pick it up, ect.) and when they are accidentally stepped on. 

    I often find atrox during a full moon when I am unable to find any other species here in West Texas. Their personalities range from aggressive to somewhat docile.  The last two thumbnails are of a rattle-less atrox that I found between Leaky and Camp Wood, Texas. He was approximately 3.5 ft. in length. Click on the thumbnails to view an enlarged versions.

norattle.jpg (212004 bytes) rattless.jpg (167890 bytes)