Crotalus ruber - Red diamond rattlesnake
Ruber: taken from Latin, meaning "red", referring to the overall ground colour of this species.
Exsul: comes from the Latin word exul, meaning to be exiled or banished, possibally refering to the fact that they live on an island, Isla Cedros, Mexico.
Lucasensis: referring to the Cabo San Lucas region of Baja California, Mexico.
Lorenzoensis: is the latinized spelling for the island San Lorenzo Sur.
This rattler ranges from San Bernardino County, Southern California to Cabo San Lucas and well into the Mexican peninsular including a few islands in the Golf of California. They can be encountered upto +/-1500m above sealevel.
Frequently found in areas of rock and brush rather than grasslands or cultivated areas. In the northern range they can be found from the coast to the desert slopes of the mountains.
This medium to large rattlesnake has an average length of 120cm but commanly grow larger (largeste recorded 162cm). Some of the island populations appear to be dwarfed and don't grow larger then a metre.
The body has an array of red or tan colours with a light edged diamond pattern on its back. A black and white ringed tail at the end.
Crotalus ruber ruber: Their natural range is from southern California into the northern region of the peninsula of Baja California. Ground colour depending on location varies between reddish brown, pink gray, brink red or tan coloured. The 29-42 dorsal blotches are usually dark reddish brown with pale centres. A dark red-brown postocular stripe is usually present.
C. r. exsul: Found on Isla Cedros. Ground colour tends to be a pale reddish, gray or pink. The 30-37 dorsal blotches are usually reddish brown but in adult often faded like the postocular stripe. Largest specimen found was 94 cm.
C. r. lorenzoensis: Found on Isla San Lorenzo Sur. Ground colour is a reddish-brown or brick red colour. A reddish-brown postocular stripe is usually present. Largest specimen found was 87.2 cm. They also appear to have degenerative rattle matrix causing missing strings of rattles.
C. r. lucasensis: Southern part of the peninsula of Baja California. Ground colour tends to be olive or yellowish brown. The somewhat irregular 20-42 dorsal blotches are more of a dark brown colour with almost black borders. The dark postocular stripe is usually well defined.
Primary diet constis of small rodents but also rabbits, ground squirrels and birds but lizards and other snakes are also eaten.
Venom of C. ruber is said to be one of the least potent rattlesnake venoms, but his is made up by the large yield they pocess. Due to their large range the composition of the venom varies between the different populations. A study by Glen et al. showed the Mojave toxin in three Mexican animals whereas Rael et al found a lot of hemorrhagic activity in northern animals.
Bite symptoms may include massive tissue swelling, pain, ecchymosis, hemorrhagic blebs, and necrosis. Systemic symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, coagulopathy, and hemolysis.
Youngsters often start their lives gray coloured, and become redder as they mature.
C. ruber is closely related to C. catalinensis.