The Eastern Diamond-Backed Rattle Snake, Crotalus adamanteus, is commonly recognized by its prominent black and white banded tail. The body, normally light brown, gray, or gray-brown, carries a row of dark, diamond markings down the middle of its back. It is the largest rattlesnake and the heaviest venomous snake in the Americas, weighing up to 34 pounds.
These snakes usually take shelter in burrows and are most active in the early morning and afternoon. Known to be excellent swimmers, they have been spotted crossing stretches of water in the Gulf of Mexico. Their rattle is well developed and can be heard from far away. If threatened, they will raise their bodies off the ground in an S-shaped coil, and can strike to a distance of at least a third of their body’s length.
Due to their large size, the adult rattle snake has no problem eating prey as large as a fully grown rabbit, while juveniles are capable of swallowing an adult mouse. Their diets also include birds, large insects and lizards.