San Diego Management & Monitoring Program


The Natural History of Mexican Rattlesnakes

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Type: book/conf proceeding

Article abstract: Beginning in November, 1966, studies on rattlesnakes (genera Crotalus and Sistrurus) and other pit vipers were initiated at the Dallas Zoo which included techniques for maintenance and disease treatments, in conjunction with observations on captive and wild populations. Maintenance techniques and disease treatments have been published in an earlier contribution. The results of our studies on the ecology and natural history of Mexican rattlesnakes are contained in the present account. Since numerous behavioral sequences were difficult to record in the field, many rattlesnakes were maintained in the laboratory. Over one hundred and twenty-five captive individuals, comprising over 50 taxa (including forms indigenous to the United States) were available for study. We have attempted to show the value of a multifaceted approach to the study of a body of organisms by beginning with field observations as a basis for understanding, followed by maintenance in the captive state whereupon specimens can be placed upon death in a systematic museum collection. This arrangement allows an investigator to examine various aspects of an animal's "being" by recording data which would be virtually impossible to record in the field. Further, this combined approach maximized our abilities as one of us is somewhat incompetent in the field and the other is an erratic animal keeper.

Authors: Armstrong, Barry; Murphy, James;

Editors: Collins, Joseph T. ; Wiley, E.O.;

Year: 1979

Publisher: University of Kansas

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to: (1) analyze and discuss the environmental components (including physiography, vegetation, and climate) of Mexico and their effect on the distribution of rattlesnakes, and (2) record observations of natural and captive populations

Keywords: rattlesnake; reptiles;

Species: Speckled Rattlesnake; Red Diamond Rattlesnake; Western Rattlesnake