Thirty species of rattlesnakes can be found in the North, Central and South Americas. Not surprisingly, size is one of the biggest differences between these species. Some rattlesnakes can be just over 1 foot in length, while the largest species can grow longer than a human. While size may differ, all rattlesnakes are poisonous and can be very dangerous.
Of all rattlesnake species, the ridge-nosed is the smallest. Ranging in size from just over 12 inches to 26 inches, this snake can be found primarily in Arizona and New Mexico. In fact, the species is protected from harassment and physical harm in Arizona. Despite its small size, the ridge-nosed rattlesnake’s venom is considered potent and dangerous to humans, so these snakes should be avoided or handled with extreme caution.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
The largest rattlesnake species is the eastern diamondback found in the southeastern parts of North America, including Florida, North Carolina and Louisiana. While averaging between 5 and 6 feet in length, some of these snakes have grown up to 8 feet in length. Even though these rattlesnakes avoid confrontations with humans, they are capable of striking within a range one-third the length of their bodies. Their venom consists of a powerful hemotoxin which kills red blood cells, interferes with clotting and damages tissue.
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