Field notes and photography by Bryan D. Hughes

Red Diamond Rattlesnakes in San Diego, County, California

Here are 3 Red Diamond Rattlesnakes (Crotalus ruber) from the Southern end of California. They look similar in many ways to Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes, but the more time you spend with them, the more differences show up. Aside from the usually bright red or orange color, their attitude is quite different. They’re considered to be the most calm of all rattlesnake species, and in my experience this has certainly been the case. This may partially be due to their tendency to hiss, rather than rattle, as a defensive display. Just as I’ve been alerted to┬ásnakes that I failed to see by them rattling at me, I’ve found quite a few red diamonds by their loud, rasping hiss. Of course the goal is to keep any stressful interaction to a minimum, but when we’re visiting dens and seeing dozens in a weekend, it happens from time to time. Sadly, many of these den sites are torn to shreds by boa hunters, and seem to be degrading very fast.

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