Common Rattlesnakes in Texas

The western diamondback is Texas' most common rattlesnake.
The western diamondback is Texas' most common rattlesnake. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

The great state of Texas, with its many and diverse habitats, is home to nine species of rattlesnake. With desert, grasslands and rocky mountain environments, the state can support numerous native species. Of the nine species, only a handful can be classified as common.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The most common rattlesnake found in Texas is the diamondback. Only the extreme eastern region of Texas does not have them. The deadly ambush predator grows up to 7 feet in length and ranges in color from light brown to pinkish. It is recognizable by the diamond-shaped markings that run down the length of its back. Solitary animals for much of the year, they come together for winter hibernation. Hundreds of individuals will spend the cold winter months together in caves to keep warm.

Black-tailed Rattlesnake

The black-tailed rattlesnake grows up to 3 1/2 feet in length. It has a thick body that is olive-green to yellowish-brown with darker mottled blotches along its back. It is found in grasslands, rocky areas and deserts in western and central Texas. In the cooler spring and autumn months, the snake can be found out both day and night. However, it is entirely nocturnal during the hot summer months. Its venom is weak compared to most rattlers, but it can still cause illness and or death to the very young or old.

Prairie Rattlesnake

The prairie rattlesnake ranges across the whole western third of the state. The species varies in color from greenish-gray to yellowish-brown, and it has dark, irregular-shaped blotches along its back. It is found in grassland areas, lower rocky outcrops, farms and near water sources. It is a proficient swimmer. The 3-foot snake produces a hemotoxic venom, but does not often inject it when it bites humans.

Western Massasauga Rattlesnake

The western Massasauga grows to around 2 1/2 feet in length. The snake is grayish in color with a thick body and large, dark blotches along its back and sides. It's called a primitive rattlesnake because the large scales on its head give it an aggressive look. It is found in the central regions of Texas in marshy, swampy areas as well as open grassland. It has potent venom, which can cause swelling but is not considered fatal as long as the victim gets medical attention.

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