Diamondback Rattlesnake Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Diamondback rattlesnakes are a kind of venomous snake that live in the United States. Come learn about diamondback rattlesnakes, how they use their rattle, how they find prey, and some other cool facts about these dangerous snakes.

What is a Diamondback Rattlesnake?

Imagine walking through a brushy desert. You are enjoying the blue sky and white clouds that float by, looking at all the cactus and brush. You aren't watching where you step when suddenly you hear a rattling sound that seems to get louder. You freeze and look down, spotting a coiled up snake with a diamond shape on its back. The tip of its tail shakes again and you know it's time to get out of there. You have just run into a diamondback rattlesnake!

A diamondback rattlesnake is a snake with a thick body, rattle on its tail, triangle-shaped head, and a noticeable diamond design running down its back. There is an eastern diamondback rattlesnake and a western diamondback rattlesnake and, though they have some differences, they have a lot in common, too.

Diamondback Rattlesnake with Triangle-Shaped Head
Diamondback Rattlesnake with Triangle Shaped Head

What do Diamondback Rattlesnakes Eat?

These snakes are pit vipers, which means they have pits, or tiny dents, on the side of their head that sense body heat, like having built-in, heat-sensing glasses that help you find dinner.

Diamondback rattlesnakes are carnivores and eat meat, including rabbits, birds, mice, and squirrels. They wait for their prey to cruise by, then attack with needle-sharp fangs, shooting poisonous venom into their dinner. Although you should always chew your food well, diamondback rattlesnakes swallow their meal in one big gulp!

Leave Them Alone!

Diamondback rattlesnakes will hiss and rattle their tails to warn predators, 'Stay away or else!' Their rattle looks like stacked rings and is made of the same thing your fingernails are made of. To make that chilling rattle sound, they shake their tail back and forth about 60 times per second!

Despite being a dangerous snake, diamondback rattlesnakes don't like you any more than you like them, and they don't even want to be around you. They would rather slither off than bite you. But they should always be left alone because if they think they are in danger, they will strike to protect themselves.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are found in the southeastern United States, from North Carolina to Louisiana and down through Florida. They enjoy slithering through places like piney woods and brushy coasts.

These are the most enormous of all rattlesnakes and the most venomous. They can grow to be six feet long on average, which is almost as long as a large black bear from nose to tail.

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