All about the Tropical rattlesnake – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.
Crotalus durissus or Crotalus terrificus
Description: The Tropical Rattlesnake is also known as South American Rattlesnake or Neotropical Rattlesnake. Coloration is light to dark brown with a series of darker rhombs or diamonds bordered by a buff color but can vary depending on the sub species. Some sub species have near invisible markings and may appear almost pink (reflecting the soil color of its environment) The heavy bodied snake can grow up to eight feet in length and with up to 10 pounds but most are 3-6 feet in length.
They have a triangular shaped head. The Tropical Rattlesnake has two stripes of darker shade that runs from the top of the head along the neck and a noticeable ridge running along the middle of the back. The brilliant color scales and beaded texture give unique appearance to the snake. There is one rattle located near the tail which makes sound when shaken
Characteristics: Extremely dangerous with an irritable disposition, ready to strike with little or no warning (use of its rattle). This species has a highly toxic venom containing neurotoxic and hemotoxic components that paralyze the central nervous system and cause great damage to tissue.
Symptom: Victims experience progressive paralysis. Symptoms include impaired vision or complete blindness, auditory disorders, paralysis of muscles particularly the neck (which may become so limp as to appear broken), aches, pain, muscle tenderness, blood in urine, and shock.
Treatment: Rarely fatal if treated quickly. Follow normal snake bite treatment procedures.
Habitat: Found in sandy places, plantations, and dry hillsides but can also be found in swamps and marshes fields in some countries. They feed mainly on rodents, lizards, birds, fish, and eggs.
Length: Average 1.4 meters (5 feet), maximum 2.1 meters (7 feet).
Distribution: Southern Mexico, Central America, and all of South America except Chile.