Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus Atrox) Care Sheet

Scientific Name: Crotalus atrox

Subspecies: None

Common Names: Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Coon-tail rattler, Texas rattlesnake, Víbora de cascabel, Víbora serrana (Mexico)

Introduction

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) was Our first venomous snake. She was a beautiful snake named Nuna. They are very dangerous snakes and should only be kept by experienced keepers. Crotalus atrox is the venomous snake responsible for the most human fatalities in the United States (1:238, 3).

Venom & Behavior

This snake’s venom is medically significant and has caused fatalities. My C. atrox was somewhat defensive and cautious, she would strike at me and would face me as she backed up. So nothing new there.

“If Crotalus atrox isn’t tormented, cornered, threatened in some other way, the snake is peaceful and unlikely to strike. However, if provoked it is wilder and more fierce than any other rattlesnake. In my observations, I found Texan rattlers to be much more aggressive than rattlesnakes from Arizona. I have no sound reasoning for this geographical difference in behavior.” (Its because they are Texans) (1:239, parentheses mine.).

To Learn More about the chemical structure of C. Atrox Venom, go here.

Antivenom

  • Product: Antivipmyn
  • Manufacturer: Instituto Bioclon
  • Country of origin: Mexico

What You will Probably Get in the United States (6)

  • Product: Polyvalent crotalid antivenom – CroFab
  • Manufacturer: Protherics Inc.
  • Country of origin: United States of America

“It is recommended that CroFab be used within six hours of snakebite to prevent clinical deterioration and the occurrence of systemic coagulation abnormalities.” So you got six hours before major damage starts happening. – Ref

***The information on this post cannot and does not serve as medical advice.***

Geographical Range & Habitat

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake ranges from Southern California to central Texas, and from Oklahoma and Arkansas to Southern Mexico. They are found in deserts, canyons, mountains, flat land, and fields. They prefer dry, stony ground, mesquite brush, and dense cactus undergrowth. (1:238, 5, 8, 9)

Husbandry

Crotalus atrox is a common species kept in captivity. There have been individuals reported to live more than 20 years.(1:239, 7)

For substrate, stay away from just using sand, because if they get into their water bowl, this happens:

So she got a nice bath and looked like this after:

Feeding

Crotalus atrox eats small mammals like rabbits, rats, and mice.

Breeding

“Mating occurs in the spring and sometimes also in the late summer or fall. The young, which are about 30 cm long at birth, are born during the months of August through October… Breeding Crotalus atrox is not difficult at all and has often been done successfully. Pezzano observed his 140-cm long Crotalus atrox male copulating with his 100-cm long female. The female stopped eating 135 days after mating, and after 168 days gave birth to five young, three male and two female. The small rattlesnakes were put into separate terrariums, which had an average temperature of 25°C. They shed for the first time 8 days after birth and ate newly haired baby mice for the first time 6 days later. In 5 months they had reached lengths of 40 cm and had two rattles on the ends of their tails. In the following years there were two more breedings, one producing 10 young and the other 12. Although the western diamondback rattler reproduces every 2 years in the wild, a good breeding pair may produce a clutch every year…Young western diamondback rattlesnakes shed 1 or 2 weeks after birth. They accept mice right after the first shed.” (1:239)

Rattlesnakes are ovoviparous. The mother keeps her fertilized eggs inside her body and gives birth to living young.

Taxonomy

  1. Crotalus adamanteus
  2. Crotalus angelensis
  3. Crotalus aquilus
  4. Crotalus armstrongi
  5. Crotalus atrox
  6. Crotalus basiliscus
  7. Crotalus campbelli
  8. Crotalus catalinensis
  9. Crotalus cerastes
  10. Crotalus cerberus
  11. Crotalus culminatus
  12. Crotalus durissus
  13. Crotalus enyo
  14. Crotalus ericsmithi
  15. Crotalus estebanensis
  16. Crotalus horridus
  17. Crotalus intermedius
  18. Crotalus lannomi
  19. Crotalus lepidus
  20. Crotalus lorenzoensis
  21. Crotalus mitchellii
  22. Crotalus molossus
  23. Crotalus morulus
  24. Crotalus oreganus
  25. Crotalus ornatus
  26. Crotalus polisi
  27. Crotalus polystictus
  28. Crotalus pricei
  29. Crotalus pusillus
  30. Crotalus pyrrhus
  31. Crotalus ravus
  32. Crotalus ruber
  33. Crotalus scutulatus
  34. Crotalus simus
  35. Crotalus stejnegeri
  36. Crotalus stephensi
  37. Crotalus tancitarensis
  38. Crotalus thalassoporus
  39. Crotalus tigris
  40. Crotalus tlaloci
  41. Crotalus totonacus
  42. Crotalus transversus
  43. Crotalus triseriatus
  44. Crotalus tzabcan
  45. Crotalus vegrandis
  46. Crotalus viridis
  47. Crotalus willardi

This List is Subject to Change

Gallery

Works Cited

  1. Venomous Snakes: Snakes in the Terrarium by Ludwig Trutnau
  2. Snakedatabase.org
  3. Animal Diversity.org
  4. WHO.int
  5. iucnredlist.org
  6. drugbank.ca
  7. Reptilesmagazine.com
  8. uta.edu
  9. californiaherps.com

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