This 'western diamondback' rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox, is a well known, large, gray to rust-colored serpent that is widely distributed across the southwestern to southcentral aspect of the United States, and adjacent Mexico (Klauber, 1997; Campbell and Lamar, 2004). It's abundant along 80% of the Texas Gulf Coast and its barrier islands, as well as the Tamaulipan region along the southern Rio Grande valley (Tennant 1998), placing it in hurricane-prone areas, which is of importance to those living in these regions, and first-responders offering aid to those affected by such a disaster. The average adult size varies considerably across its range. In Starr, Willacy and Hidalgo counties in South Texas, C. atrox commonly grow over 5ft. in length, (Tennant, 1998), and is a highly-excitable, aggressive rattlesnake, responsible for a significant portion of the venomous snake bites, and most of the snakebite fatalities reported in the U. S. each year (Russell, 1980; Gold, 2002).
CDC/ Edward J. Wozniak D.V.M., Ph.D.
October 31, 2012