Photo by Jerry Schudda
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake – Crotalus atrox
The most common rattlesnake species in Arizona, Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes are both generalists in their diet, consuming a variety of rodents and lizards, as well as generalists in their habitat. They are also the largest rattlesnake species on the west coast identified by a grey to tan body with brown diamond shaped dorsal blotches and a black and white striped tail with equal size banding.
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.