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Pair of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes


Crotalus adamanteus - Eastern diamondback rattlesnake

Meaning
The name in Latin means "diamond or lozenge-shaped" but in the Greek language adamant which means "unconquerable" and -eus stands for "one who is".

English name
Eastern diamondback rattlesnake

Other names
Florida diamondback rattlesnake, Water rattlesnake

Distribution
Crotalus adamanteus is found in the different states along the southeastern coast of the United States in Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and even on a few islands in the Gulf of Mexico but Florida has the largest concentration.

Habitat
Because of their large distribution they can be found in a variety of habitats like dry pine forests, sandhills, woodlands even swamp forests. Overall they do favor the more drier upland habitats. It is also quite common for a C. adamanteus to use burrows of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) to escape the hot summer days or overwintering during the winter months.

Description
C. adamanteus is the largest of all rattlesnakes, average size range between 150 - 200 cm but it is known that some individuals can grow over the 240 cm mark. Large animals have the tendency to weight more whereby 12 kg or more can be reached.
This large heavy-bodied snake has a row of large dark diamond shapes with brown centers and creamy colored borders. The ground colour tends to be brownish, brown yellow, olive or brown grey but towards the tail the colors fade and the diamondshapes fade or break into bands. On the head a dark stripe edged in white or yellow runs back from the mouth to the eyes.
Seen there large range and so different populations there is a lot of variety in the colors, like animals from the northern range (the Carolina's) tend to be vividly colored with more contrasting patterns and a higher concentration yellow. Other atypical colors/patterns in C. adamanteus are albino, amelanistic, no yellow pigments, broken diamonds or "striped" individuals.

Diet
C. adamanteus is an ambush predator and wait till its prey comes in striking range. Although their large and some what bulky appearance this snake can strike up to two-thirds of its body length. Its diet normally excists on feeding on rabbits, rodents and sometimes even birds.

Venom
Its is said that this snake causes the greatest number of snakebite deaths in the USA. The venom of C. adamanteus has a high hemorrhagic activity (bleeding activity) and contains a peptide (short molecule) that can block or interfere with neuromuscular transmission possibly resulting in death by cardiac muscle ischemia or myocardial failure (both heart conditions). The venom is very necrotic, causing serious disfigurement by bitten victims. Initial effects on humans may include bruising, swelling, chills, blood blisters, change in taste, numbness, pain but also muscle fasciculations, paralysis and respiratory failure. The aftermath of a bite can have effects like abnormal coagulation, numbness and tingling that may persist for weeks. Edited by Ray F Hunter, Sc.D.

5.5 foot Eastern Diamondback that bit me (see below photo)

This was me in a 5 day coma after the above rattlesnake bite. My total hospital stay was 5 weeks, and the total bill was $630,000.

This is a clip from Animal Planet's "I Was Bitten" episode #5 covering my bite. (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO)

 
   
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