cpnha logo

Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association
Sonoran Desert Reptiles
Crotalus atrox (Western diamondback)



 Western diamondback

 Western diamondback

 Western diamondback

Diet: rodents, birds, lizards
Size: 30" to 90" (76 to 229 cm)

Identification: 30 - 90 in. (76-229 cm). The largest western rattlesnake. Gray, brown, pink, or yellowish above, with light brown to blackish, light-edged, diamond-shaped or hexagonal blotches on back and fainter smaller blotches on sides. Markings often indefinite and peppered with small dark spots, giving the snake a speckled or dusty appearance overall. Tail with broad black-and-white or light gray rings, about equal in width: thus sometimes called the "coontail" rattler. A light diagonal stripe behind each eye intersects the upper lip well in front of the corner of the mouth. Dorsal scales keeled, in 25-27 rows. Young. Markings more distinct than in adult. Eats mammals (rabbits, squirrels, mice, rats), lizards, birds and their nestlings, and occasionally frogs and toads.

Comparison of Western diamondback (Crotalus atrox) and Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus): Both rattlesnakes have black and white bands at the tip of the tail. The bands are of approximately the same width on the Western diamondback. The white bands are twice as wide as the black bands on the Mojave rattlesnake.


Excerpts from A FIELD GUIDE TO WESTERN REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS, 3/e by Robert C. Stebbins. Copyright (c) 2003 by Robert C. Stebbins. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Photo Credits:
Photo #1
Photo #2
Photo #3





Copyright Creative Commons

HTML & Programing by
Thomas R. Powell


Natural History of the Sonoran Desert and Refuge