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Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Animals)

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Tags: snake (29 pics)

Crotalus adamanteus

Crotalus adamanteus is a venomous pitviper species found in the southeastern United States. It is the heaviest (though not longest) venomous snake in the Americas and the largest rattlesnake. No subspecies are currently recognized.

Common names

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake, eastern diamondback, diamond rattlesnake, diamond-back rattlesnake, common rattlesnake, diamond-back, diamond(-patch) rattler, eastern diamond-back (rattlesnake), eastern diamond rattlesnake, Florida diamond-back (rattlesnake), Florida rattlesnake, lozenge-spotted rattlesnake, rattler, rattlesnake, southeastern diamond-backed rattlesnake, southeastern diamond-backed rattler, southern woodland rattler, timber rattlesnake, water rattle, water rattlesnake, diamondback rattlesnake.

Description

The largest rattlesnake species, the maximum sizes reported are 244 cm (8.0 ft) (Klauber, 1972 (48 years ago)) and 251.5 cm (8.25 ft) (Ditmars, 1936 (84 years ago)). One captive specimen weighed over 26 pounds (12 kg). However, the stated maximum size has been called into question due to a lack of voucher specimens (Jones, 1997 (23 years ago)).

Specimens over 7 ft (210 cm) are rare, but well documented. Klauber (1997, 23 years ago) includes a letter he received from E. Ross Allen in 1953 (67 years ago), in which Allen explains how for years he offered a reward of $100, and later $200, for an 8 ft (240 cm) specimen, Dead Or Alive (12 pics). The reward was never claimed. He did receive a number of 7-foot (2.1 m) specimens and some 8-foot (2.4 m) skins, but said that such skins can be taken from a 6 ft (180 cm) snake.

The average size is much less: lengths of 3.5–5.5 ft (110–170 cm), 84–183 cm (2.8–6.0 ft) are given. One study found an average length of 170 cm (5.6 ft) based on 31 males and 43 females.

The scalation includes 25-31 (usually 29) rows of dorsal scales at midbody, 165-176/170-187 ventral scales in males/females and 27-33/20-26 subcaudal scales in males/females. On the head, the rostral scale is higher than it is wide and contacts 2 internasal scales. There are 10-21 scales in the internasal-prefrontal region and 5-11 (usually 7-8) intersupraocular scales. Usually there are 2 loreal scales between preoculars and the postnasal. There are 12-17 (usually 14-15) supralabial scales, the first of which is in broad contact with the prenasal, and 15-21 (usually 17-18) sublabial scales.

The color pattern consists of a brownish, brownish yellow, brownish gray or olive ground color, overlaid with a series of 24-35 dark brown to black diamonds with slightly lighter centres. Each of these diamond-shaped blotches is outlined with a row of cream or yellowish scales. Posteriorly the diamond shapes become more like cross-bands and are followed by 5-10 bands around the tail. The belly is a yellowish or cream color with diffused dark mottling along the sides. The head has a dark postocular stripe that extends from behind the eye backwards and downwards to the lip; the back of the stripe touches the angle of the mouth. Anteriorly and posteriorly, the postocular stripe is bordered by distinct white or yellow stripes.


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