Photo by Jerry Schudda
Melanistic and Leucistic Western Diamondback Rattlesnake – Crotalus atrox
Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes can come in numerous colors ranging from the extreme black with tan lines to break up the pattern (melanistic left) to yellowish white with yellow diamond patterns (leucistic right). These colors are possible though rare to find with most containing the normal brown-gray color pattern with a black and white striped tail.
Along with being the most common rattlesnake species, Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes are also the most common reason for rattlesnake envenomation in Arizona, largely due to their ability to adapt to urbanizing environments. Bites can range in toxicity and are predominantly characterized by tissue injury, swelling, pain, hemorrhage and coagulation abnormalities. Fortunately, commercially available antivenom as been proven to be an effective treatment option.