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Description:Baby Diamond  Back
The snake of real concern here in Arizona is the Western Diamondback. It has definitive diamond shapes running the length of the snakes body. They are generally a light mottled tan color with darker colored brownish diamonds. A rattlesnake is clearly defined by the rattles at the end of their tail. These rattles are caused by the last piece of skin left behind during the molting process. Snakes molt in order to grow and they molt many times the first year of life. For this reason, the number of rattles doesn't necessarily identify it's age. Rattlers may have jaws that are wider at the hinge than at the opening. This is to swallow larger prey.

Where there is a large supply of food (small rodents) and plenty of places to hide, you may encounter a rattlesnake. They emerge from hibernation when temperatures beginning to warm sometimes as early as late March in the warmer regions of Arizona. They migrate from their winter homes in search of food but rarely go more than a mile from their den. They hunt at night and hide under rocks, trees or shrubs during the day especially when digesting which may take a few days.

Life Cycle:
Rattlesnake eggs are kept inside the mother's body until hatched and the young come out alive. They may have about 10 live born babies. The babies are usually born in the fall between August and October. They will range up to 10 inches at birth. Babies have fangs, venom and are dangerous from day one. Even though they may not have any rattles they will "strike the pose" (sorry I couldn't help the pun) and will strike repeatedly when disturbed.

They are dependent on the mother for up to 10 days after they shed and get their first rattle. Then begins the search for food. Attrition is high in baby snakes, they are eaten by birds or other animals or starve.

Western Diamondback RattlesnakeSafety Tips:
Use caution when hiking in the desert. Stay on trails and avoid going into caves, under dense brush or rocks. A rattlesnake bite can be fatal so if your planning a big hike talk to an expert on what you should take just in case.

Before the snake goes into hibernation they had an area they fed in. Based on all the construction and how quickly land is cleared it is possible that a snake could awaken in an area where homes are now constructed. This would explain why more snakes have been found in newly developed residential areas. Screening off the fence weepholes that lead into washes,the bottoms of gates and reducing hiding places in the yard will help.Check out ourRattlesnake Screenig Service. Look under garbage containers and items stored outside (lawnmowers and wood piles) before moving. Whenever a snake is encountered move away as smoothly and quickly as possible. If they are trapped in your yard call the fire department for removal. Don't be a hero unless you're sure you have the tools and capability to remove or kill the snake.

Beneficial Snakes:Gopher Snake501

There are also many species of non-venomous, beneficial snakes in Arizona. A couple of these are the King snake, a beautiful black and yellow or black and white snake, who has a reputation for eating smaller rattlesnakes, and the Sonoran Gopher snake, who is commonly mistaken for a rattlesnake.

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