Range: Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are found throughout the state of Florida, including several barrier islands and the Florida Keys. Outside of Florida, they range north along the coastal plain to southeastern North Carolina and west to southern Mississippi and eastern Louisiana.
Habitat: Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are often found in pine flatwoods, longleaf pine and turkey oak, sand pine scrub areas, and coastal barrier islands. These habitats contain palmetto thickets and Gopher Tortoise burrows in which the Diamondback Rattlesnake may seek refuge. Humans have invaded many of Florida's pine flatwoods and scrub areas which now contain farms, homes and shopping plazas. As a result, the displaced Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes may be turn up in backyards, golf courses, and even parking lots.
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is a large, impressive, and potentially dangerous snake. It can strike up to 2/3 its body length; a 6-foot (183 cm) individual may strike 4 feet (122 cm). These factors, as well as others, make this a snake that should be simply left alone and not bothered. Some people wrongly believe the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake must rattle before striking, but this is not true. It can lay silent and motionless, and then strike without the usual nervous buzz from its rattle. In fact, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes that rattle are more apt to be heard, seen and killed, and those that remain silent are more apt to go undiscovered.
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is extremely beneficial to man because it preys on rats, mice, rabbits, and other warm blooded prey, many of which are considered pests. Nevertheless, the general public in Florida feels so threatened by this and other snakes that many are killed without consideration. This indiscriminate killing, combined with the widespread loss of Rattlesnake habitat to agricultural development and urban sprawl and commercial hunting for Rattlesnake skins, has caused a severe decline in most Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake populations