Tiger Rattlesnake Facts
- Perhaps the most noteworthy fact about the remarkable Tiger Rattlesnake remains the level of danger it represents. That holds true due to the fact that the animal represents the most dangerous of known varieties of rattlesnake. This level of danger occurs regardless of sheer size.
- Furthermore, the quantity of venom injected with a bite equals significantly less than that of similar species. Yet, its the nature of the toxin that makes it so perilous. That’s because the venom contains a powerful mix of neurotoxins and mycotoxins which often leads to muscle death.
- Quite unfortunately for it, the endemic range of the species ranks as somewhat restricted. Furthermore, even within that range, its own nature serves as a limiting factor to its potential spread. That occurs due to the fact that 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 on its Red List of Threatened Species. Nevertheless, given the specific nature of its habitat needs, it remains highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Tiger Rattlesnake Physical Description
Firstly, the impressive Tiger Rattlesnake classifies as a type of pit viper. Secondly, it also qualifies as a somewhat smaller than average one. Further, like many species of reptiles, this animal displays the physical trait of sexual dimorphism. In its case, the males typically attain a slightly larger size than the females.
Neither gender attains an impressive physical size, however. Additionally, lengths vary significantly between individuals. That’s because mature adults average between 18 – 36 in (46 – 92 cm) in length. Yet the average length equals about 24 in (61 cm). Also, weights rarely exceed 1 lb ( 0.45 kg), and average much less.
Perhaps the most distinguishing physical feature of the remarkable rattlesnake is the head of the reptile. This develops in a highly rectangular shape. It also forms quite small in proportion to body length, compared to related species. Meanwhile, the rattle on its tail develops much larger than others, in relation to body size.
In addition, its basic coloring also varies greatly among individuals. Most present combinations of either an orange-brown or bluish gray. Black bars also show across the body, hence the common name of the Tiger Rattlesnake. Like all pit vipers, individuals also 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 Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The astonishing Tiger Rattlesnake evolved as solely endemic to specific portions of North America. More specifically, it appears only in the region of the state of Arizona, in the United States, and southern Mexico. Yet more specifically, within that range, the snakes roam at altitudes ranging from sea level to 4,806 ft (1,465 m).
The small but powerful reptile usually inhabits regions of rocky desert canyons, bajadas, and foothills. This highly adapted species also remains primarily terrestrial. Nevertheless, some individuals will occasionally perch in low vegetation. Furthermore its periods of activity also vary somewhat, according to the seasons.
Just as all other known snakes, this rattlesnake evolved as a carnivore in nature. Quite understandably, given its size, individuals primarily prey on a variety of small mammals. Yet, it distinguishes itself in yet another manner. That’s because, unlike most snakes, it will hunt by both ambush and active stalking equally.
Finally, considering its own level of lethality, its own predators remain few. But the few it does face includes hawks and eagles. By nature, the Tiger Rattlesnake can be easily annoyed and remains quite aggressive. The major threat it faces is human expansion into its endemic territory, just like many other species.