Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Viperidae, the Viper and Pit viper family.
IUCN Least Concern.
Southwestern California, Baja California and islands in the Sea of Cortez.
Rocky brushland, desert, farmland, bajadas and lower mountain slopes up to 3,500 ft.
It is generally agreed that this is the most docile and least likely to strike of all the rattlesnakes in the U.S. and usually doesn’t even rattle unless really provoked. However, witnesses have seen it stand its ground, coil, “buzz” and strike at the air in an open area with plenty of space behind it to retreat, and it chose not to do so. A good reminder: there are always exceptions!
These rattlesnakes are tan, pink or rusty red in color, with the conspicuous “coon tail”. They can grow to 2 ½ to 5 ft. in length. They are most often encountered in the spring, coiled in a shelter with partial sun or crossing the road at night.
Their diet consists of rabbits, ground squirrels and birds. They are preyed on by kingsnakes, roadrunners, hawks and eagles and have also been harvested as human food.
Heat sensing pits on the sides of the head help them to locate prey by their warmth. Long, hollow, movable fangs connected to venom glands inject toxic venom which quickly immobilizes prey. They can control the amount of venom injected and the fangs are re-grown if broken.
Their breeding season is from February to April and females give birth to 3-20 young in the summer.