Tiger Rattlesnake Facts
- The most noteworthy fact about a Tiger Rattlesnake is that the animal is the most dangerous species of all rattlesnake.
- The quantity of venom injected with a bite is less than that of similar species. Yet, the venom contains a powerful mix of neurotoxins and mycotoxins which often leads to muscle death.
- The endemic range of the species is rather restricted. Furthermore, even within that range, its habitat requirements restrict its population to very specific regions.
- Finally, despite inhabiting such a restricted range, its numbers appear to be stable. As a result, the IUCN lists this snake as a Species of Least Concern.
Tiger Rattlesnake Physical Characteristics
Physically, the Tiger Rattlesnake is a small type of pit viper.
In addition, sexual dimorphism is present, with males usually larger than females. The snakes reach a maximum recorded length of only 36 in (91 cm) and are also quite light, rarely weighing more than 1 lb (0.45 kg).
Its basic coloring also varies greatly among individuals. Most are either an orange-brown or bluish gray. Black bars show across the body, hence the name Tiger Rattlesnake.
The head is triangular in shape and small. In fact, relative to body size, it has the smallest head of any known rattlesnake, yet the distinctive rattle is quite large, again relative to body size.
Like all pit vipers, individuals possess heat-sensing organs on each side of the head.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Viperidae
- Genus: Crotalus
- Species: C. tigris
Tiger Rattlesnake Habitat and Ecology
The Tiger Rattlesnake is endemic to portions of Arizona and southern Mexico, in North America. Within that range, the snakes roam at altitudes ranging from sea level to 4,806 ft (1,465 m).
The reptile usually inhabits regions of rocky desert canyons, bajadas, and foothills. This species is primarily terrestrial, yet will occasionally perch in low vegetation. Its periods of activity also vary according to the seasons.
The rattlesnake primarily preys on a variety of small mammals. Interestingly, unlike most snakes, it will hunt by both ambush and active stalking equally.
Its own predators are few but include hawks and eagles. The Tiger Rattlesnake is easily annoyed and is quite aggressive. The major threat it faces is human expansion into its endemic territory – just like many other species do.