In the last few weeks, the genus Crotalus seems to be sliding its coils into my life with some regularity. This one was nestled in the short grass in front of the cabin that I’m staying in on St Catherine’s Island. A good reason to remember the flashlight at night.
The diamond markings (and face mask — like a raccoon) on this species (C. adamanteus) are quite different from the mottled colors of the timber rattlesnake (C. horridus). The diamondback lives in the coastal plain and prefers open piney woods, meadows and the edges of salt marshes. All these habitats are in decline, so the species is not doing well in most places. Extensive persecution doesn’t help. St Catherine’s Island is one exception: the animals are fairly common there. This one was relocated to an area away from heavy foot traffic.