Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Facts
- Most notably the name of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake applies to a reptile that remains a highly venomous species of pit viper. Further, the dangerous animal evolved as endemic to only a specific region of the world. This area consists solely of the southeastern United States.
- In addition, this dangerous but magnificent rattlesnake also holds another impressive status. That’s because it ranks as the heaviest venomous snake in either North America or South America. Despite its great weight, however, the animal does not qualify as the longest.
- For a variety of reasons, the IUCN currently lists it as a species of Least Concern on its Red List of Threatened Species. This status currently remains under review, however. This reconsideration occurs due to ongoing changes in conditions within the endemic range of the snake.
- Finally, estimates place its current numbers at only 3% of what they once were. Habitat loss and highway mortality, coupled with a low reproductive rate form the primary factors in its decline. But now, climate change may soon threaten the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, as well.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Physical Description
Firstly, the amazing Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake constitutes a physically quite imposing reptile. It holds this claim due to its sheer massiveness, for a venomous reptile. However, variations in size do occur. This holds true partly due to the fact that this amazing creature displays a slight degree of sexual dimorphism.
In its case, this principle presents itself in terms of overall size. That’s because the male typically attains a slightly greater length and weight than the female. Nevertheless, the difference remains quite small. Therefore, the two genders are usually considered to be of the same approximate size when measurements are discussed.
As a result of this, a typical length for this incredible reptile equals roughly 5.5 ft (1.7 m). Furthermore, the typical mature adult generally weighs about 10 lb (4.5 kg). Yet, exceptional specimens occasionally reach great lengths, equaling as much as 7.8 ft (2.4 m). In addition, most of the exceptional-sized individuals are male.
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake also presents a striking image in terms of color patter. That’s because this most commonly consists of shades of brown, yellow, gray, and olive. Additionally, this pattern develops overlaid with a series of 24-35 black or dark brown diamond shapes. This serves as the source of he common name.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Viperidae
- Genus: Crotalus
- Species: C. adamanteus
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Although the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake evolved as endemic to the southeastern United States, it only appears in a limited portion of it. As a result, its natural range only extends along the coastal plain. More specifically, that runs from eastern North Carolina to southeastern Louisiana.
Yet, it does inhabit some portions of the range in greater numbers than others. Due to this, the increasingly rare animal appears to be most numerous in Alabama and Georgia. Quite unfortunately for those who love Nature, it now appears to be extinct in North Carolina and Louisiana, however.
Further, its most notable feature nevertheless remains its relative toxicity. A typical bite produces 3-4 times the amount of venom needed to kill an average human. Antivenom is readily available in most medical facilities throughout its range, however. Therefore, attacks usually only become fatal if left untreated.
The dangerous but impressive animal also remains quite adaptable, and will inhabit a wide range of habitat types. These include pine forests, sandhills, coastal hammocks, and most types of swampy areas. The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake also typically resides within burrows previously excavated by other animals.