Typically reaching lengths between 4 and 5 feet, eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) deliver to their prey and aggressors a potent hemotoxic venom through two hollow fangs. They most commonly eat rodents, although larger adults may make meals of rabbits. Heavy-bodied and sluggish, they are not particularly active hunters, often opting instead to coil up in an ambush position at the base of a tree, bush, or log waiting for prey to pass them by. Indeed, these snakes play an important role in controlling rodent populations and disease.
Diamondbacks suffer from habitat loss, fragmentation, or explicit persecution across their whole historic range, which spans the Gulf and Atlantic coastal plains historically from Louisiana to North Carolina and down through the entire Florida peninsula. Cold-blooded, these snakes prefer to live in open-canopied ecosystems where they can easily soak up heat from the sun. Ecosystems in Florida that can support diamondback populations include mesic pine flatwoods, dry prairies, beach dunes and saltmarshes, though they especially thrive in imperiled, fire-dependent ecosystems like longleaf pine-grassland communities and the pine rocklands of the southern peninsula. In the northern reaches of their range where winters can be harsh, they rely on gopher tortoise burrows or stumpholes in which they can find shelter for the coldest months of the year.
As mesic hammocks and other forests continue to get developed, Brazilian free-tailed bats are losing habitat here in Florida. You can help to offset this habitat loss by building a bat house in your yard while reaping the benefits of free pest control!