Thursday, March 27, 2014
Creature Feature #160: Diamondback Rattlesnake
The Western and Eastern Diamondback are venomous vipers found across the USA. Inept at climbing, they are the heaviest of their kind, with the Eastern species weighing in at up to 15 kilograms and measuring up to 2.4 metres long. The Eastern inhabits woodland and prairies, whereas the Western favours the desert. During the night he shelters underground in gopher or tortoise burrows, emerging with the sun to bask and lie in wait for prey to wander by. The rattle is a series of interlocking kerotin segments, modified from the scales on the tail. This can be "shaken" by the contraction of special muscles to create a rattling noise. Diamondbacks do not always rattle before they strike, it is more of a warning to anything that is too large for them to eat that may be a potential danger to the snake.