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Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Crotalus adamanteus

Geographical Locale

  • Found in the coastal lowlands, from southeast North Carolina to eastern Louisiana and throughout Florida (including Florida Keys).


  • This is the largest rattlesnake and the heaviest venomous snake in the Americas.
  • Average adult size is 91-183 cm, but it has been reported to be as big as 244cm.
  • Body is a brown/yellow color with dark brown/black diamonds outlined by yellowish scales.
  • Tail is a brownish or grey color which ends in a rattle.
  • Head has a dark stripe that runs diagonally through the eye.


  • The venom is potent.
  • Symptoms of being bitten include pain and swelling, shock, a weak pulse or even heart failure, difficulty breathing and even convulsions.
  • When bitten severely the mortality rate is said to be almost 40%.
  • They can strike up to 2/3 their body length.


  • They mate in late summer and fall.
  • Females usually give birth to on average a dozen young in their shelters.
  • Young are born approx 30-36 cm long with markings similar to adults except they have a button at the end of the tail in place of the rattle.
  • The young only stay with the mother for a couple of days before they go off to hunt for themselves and find their own shelter. This means that their mortality rate is fairly high.
  • They can however live to over 20 years.


  • They favor dry pine forests, sand pine scrub areas and coastal barrier islands as well as wet prairies during dry periods.
  • Often inhabit gopher tortoise burrows as their shelters.
  • They are strong swimmers and have been seen crossing water between islands and mainland.
  • They feed on small mammals including mice, birds and rabbits.

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