The eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) is the heaviest venomous snake in North America and the second-largest found anywhere in the world, second only to the king cobra of Asia.
The eastern diamondback’s most recognizable feature is its namesake rattle, which it uses to warn potential predators that it’s capable of delivering a painful bite. The snake’s diet consists mostly of small mammals, including rodents, rabbits, and woodchucks.
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake, Crotalus adamanteus, is a large venomous pitviper species found in the southeastern United States. It is one of three rattlesnakes found in Florida. As its name suggests, it has diamonds on its back that are black with red centers.
Although it is slightly smaller than its western counterpart (with an average length of 4-5 feet) it makes up for that by being more aggressive toward humans. This makes it quite dangerous to anyone unlucky enough to be bitten.
Fortunately, there is an antivenin available that can save your life if administered quickly. However, as long as you follow these safety tips you should never have to worry about coming into contact with one of these deadly creatures.
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is common in coastal plain swamps, marshy areas, pine Flatwoods, prairies, and agricultural land with sandy soils. They also can be found on rocky hillsides near streams or rivers. A few individuals have been found at elevations of 3,800 feet (1,200 m).
This species can live almost anywhere that offers a combination of low temperatures, loose soil for burrowing, and adequate prey. However, it does not do well in heavily forested areas because it cannot climb trees to capture birds and squirrels as food.
It also does not do well on high mountain ridges because it cannot tolerate low oxygen levels caused by thin air at high altitudes.
The Eastern diamondback rattlesnake is a carnivore that eats small mammals, such as rabbits, raccoons, rats, birds, turtles, and fish. It also eats insects. The snake sometimes hunts for food during daylight hours. In winter months when prey is scarce or it is cold outside, it goes into a dormant state.
To maintain body temperature while in its den, it will coil itself around one of its victims to keep warm. Unlike other snakes that move with their body upright on land and on water (making them quick in both places), rattlers move with their bodies flattened to glide through the water better than they can on land (making them quick in water but slow on land). They lay eggs to reproduce rather than give live birth as mammals do.
They are ovoviviparous, which means they develop inside an egg inside their mother’s body before being born. Their young are called hatchlings. A female can have up to 100 babies at once. They shed their skin every year after growing too big for it and grow new skin underneath theirs. This process is called molting.
The female gives birth to live young, they are 5-6 feet in length at birth. Usually 6-12 of them. The mother will wrap herself around her babies to keep them warm when they are born.
The babies stay with their mothers for about two years before becoming independent. This rattlesnake has a mating ritual that’s very long, it can last up to 1 hour sometimes even longer than 2 hours.
When mating is done, it is important for both snakes to get away from each other as soon as possible because if one snake feels threatened or scared, he/she might strike out. There have been reports of females being killed by males during mating season.
If you see an eastern diamondback rattlesnake during the mating season please do not disturb them! They will be on high alert and might strike out because they feel threatened.
The Eastern diamondback rattlesnake produces more toxic venom than any other rattlesnake species in North America. A small amount of its bite can kill a full-grown human; no anti-venom exists. Roughly 50 percent of victims will die, even with proper medical attention.
For that reason, venomous snakes are considered to be one of nature’s most dangerous creatures. The average lifespan of an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake is 15 years but some have been recorded to live as long as 25 years in captivity.
Although most live between 12 and 18 years in the wild, these pit vipers are not able to regulate their body temperature internally (unlike humans) so they depend on external sources of heat or cold to regulate their bodies’ temperature.
In fact, it was once believed that rattlesnakes were deaf because they do not react to loud noises. However, scientists now know that they actually hear quite well and use sound to track down prey at night. They also use vibrations from nearby prey items as cues for when to strike.
The rattlesnake is most often nocturnal, but will sometimes become active during daylight when temperatures are very warm. It is generally an ambush predator, waiting to strike at prey that comes within striking distance or to react quickly to vibrations.
When threatened, a rattlesnake will coil its body and rattle its tail against rocks or debris in order to warn potential predators. If provoked further it will engage in a defensive strike that consists of bites directed at threats (most often other snakes). Its first strike is almost always aimed at either the head or neck area.
A rattlesnake can strike up to two-thirds of its body length, making them one of the longest-reaching venomous snake species. They have also been known to bite defensively when they cannot get away from their perceived threat; for example, if someone steps on them by accident or attempts to pick them up.
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is protected throughout its range. The species is classified as Least Concern by IUCN; however, several subspecies have become endangered or are threatened. Habitat loss and overhunting for food make up most of these threats.
They are not able to adapt quickly enough to human activity because they require extensive areas of isolated land that can remain undisturbed for many years at a time. This makes it even more difficult for their populations to grow back after they’ve been hunted.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many conservation efforts in place right now; however, there are some groups looking into breeding programs and habitat preservation in an effort to protect them from extinction.
If you want to help out, consider donating money or becoming involved with one of these organizations. You can also educate yourself on ways you can help out on your own, such as avoiding activities like camping and hiking in rattlesnake habitats during mating season—and when walking through long grasses (which might hide hibernating snakes). Most importantly, never handle a snake without first knowing what type it is.
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