Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is the largest rattlesnake found in Nevada. They are light colored with diamond shaped spots along their back. The diamond pattern is outlined with white and black, and they have alternating black and white banding on the tail. Like other rattlesnakes they have a characteristic arrow shaped head and a rattle on the end of its tail.
Crotalus atrox
10-20 Years
  • Unprotected
Least Concern
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is found in the very southern tip of Nevada. They call the Mojave Desert home and can occupy a range of habitats such as rocky areas in desert washes, rocky hillsides, and grassy areas.

  • Desert Washes
  • Grasslands
  • Mojave desert


  • Habitat Destruction

Natural History

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is venomous. That venom is used to subdue their prey which are primarily small mammals and sometimes birds. They are ambush predators that wait for their prey to come to them before striking and swallowing their prey whole. Snakes do not need to eat often and will consume food once every two to three weeks.
Rattlesnakes are not born with their rattles, but every time they shed their skin a little piece is left on their tail adding a new ‘button’ and making their rattle bigger. You can not age a snake accurately by the ‘buttons’ on their rattle because they can shed more than once a year. The rattle serves as a warning to predators, and sometimes humans, to stay away. Even with their potent venom Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes have predators including coyotes, kingsnakes, birds of prey, roadrunners, and even stock animals can trample them.
These snakes reach sexual maturity at the age of 3. Like other rattlesnakes, they give birth to live young. Litters consist of around 10-15 young.

Fun Facts

Sometimes fangs break off during envenomation, but their teeth can regrow and regenerate several times a year. Male Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes will ‘fight’ other males during breeding season. These ‘fights’ do no usually end in injury and look more like wrestling.