A neonate western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) near Eden, Texas — as central Texas as you can get. This viper stretched out to about 35cm but seemed incredibly tiny when all curled up. Western diamondbacks are characterized by a conspicuous black and white striped tail, sharply contrasted by a light cryptic body coloration. When threatened rattlesnakes coil up to protect the length of their bodies and vibrate the tail, producing a continuous high-pitched maraca-like sound through rubbing together the hollow keratinous segments. This defensive measure aims to deter predators without risking injury via direct contact or the expenditure of venom. The baby rattler only had a button on its rattle, so no sound was produced when it shook its tail. New overlapped segments of the rattle will be added as the snake grows and goes through shed cycles.
Photographed after relocated