Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

While birding in many parts of the country, keeping an eye to the ground is often advisable. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are found along the coastal plains of the southeastern United States, from North Carolina and Florida to eastern Louisiana. Displaced by human development, the snakes now appear in unexpected habitats (Florida Museum of Natural History). Erika encountered this individual in the parking lot of that premier birding location, Corkscrew Swamp. Park rangers quickly set up a monitor but did disturb the snake.

These large rattlesnakes (some reach lengths of seven feet) are potentially dangerous, so disturbing one is a poor idea. If given the opportunity, this rattlesnake will usually retreat. But, if cornered, some stand their ground, striking repeatedly. Not all rattle before striking and, indeed, there may be selective pressure to remain silent and unnoticed. These snakes are beneficial, preying on a variety of rodents and rabbits that are generally considered to be pests. Nonetheless, many are killed on sight by the general public. Consequently Eastern Diamondbacks have suffered severe population declines (Wikipedia).

1 comment:

  1. i've heard there are diamondbacks in virginia in the big swamp on the border with north carolina near norfolk. have to look it up.
    ive seen quite a few timber rattlesnakes in the mountains.