SPECIES NAMECrotalus ruber
RISK TO HUMANSHighly venomous
DISTRIBUTIONPeninsular Ranges of Southwestern California
The Red Diamond rattlesnake has a heavy body, stout tail, and a head that spans about twice the size of its neck. The coloration of this species is variable to match the environment and ranges from pink, reddish-tan, and reddish-brown to brick red. The dorsal surface consists of diamond shaped blotches with light edges that extend down the sides, getting smaller in size but consistent in shape. Black and white rings similar in width or with the white rings appearing just slightly wider circle the end of the tail to the rattle. A diagonal stripe, light or dark in appearance depending on the individual, extends from the bottom edge of the eye to the corner of the mouth. The underbelly is a light dull yellow and exhibits no markings. Adult sizes range from 30-65 inches, typically reaching 24-54 inches.
Restricted to the Peninsular Ranges of Southwestern California. Inhabits arid scrub, coastal chaparral, oak and pine woodlands, rocky grasslands, mesquite/cactus, and cultivated areas. Most commonly found in foothills of the mountains and into the dry rocky desert flats. At risk due to habitat loss in coastal regions.
Specializes in small mammals such as rabbits, ground squirrels, woodrats, and mice. Secondary prey includes birds, lizards, and occasionally other snakes.
Typically unaggressive. Will remain motionless or move away from threats, but may rattle and strike if provoked or startled. Primarily nocturnal or crepuscular during warmer months, but may be active during the daytime cooler days. or in cooler shaded areas within boulder fields. Have been reported partially climbing easily accessible shrubs and trees. Mating occurs in the spring with 3-20 live young born between July and September. Neonates measure 10-12 inches at birth.