The tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) is a species of venomous reptile that is of small to moderate size. The species' moniker comes from the conspicuous and thin stripes that line of the snakes' bodies, which are reminiscent of those of tigers. These stripes are generally brown or gray. The typical life expectancy for tiger rattlesnakes is in the range of 20 to 25 years.
Tiger rattlesnakes can reach lengths of around 35 inches, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The main body coloring is usually pinkish, grayish-blue, gray or yellowish-beige, with off-white, light orange or pink on the edges. Tiger rattlesnakes feature somewhere between 35 and 52 stripes. These snakes possess markedly small heads compared with similar species such as the speckled rattlesnake.
The mostly nocturnal tiger rattlesnake lives in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora and in the southern central, central and southeastern regions of Arizona. Some of these terrestrial rattlesnakes also reside on the Gulf of California's Tiburon Island.
In the wild, the tiger rattlesnake species lives in a variety of environments including mesquite grasslands, desert ravines, rugged canyons, foothills, rocky slopes and cliffs, Creosote bush stands, woodland, thornscrub, shrubland, mountain drainages, chaparral, deciduous forest and bajadas. Once in a while, tiger rattlesnakes appear in desert flatlands, but it is not common for the creatures to be too far from mountainous and similarly rocky regions.
The basic tiger rattlesnake diet consists of a combination of lizards and tiny mammals. Some of the carnivorous rattlesnakes' mammalian dining favorites are woodrats, kangaroo rats and mice. Birds are also a major component of what tiger rattlesnakes regularly consume.
The venom of tiger rattlesnakes is extremely poisonous and dangerous, more so than any other neotropical rattlesnakes, according to the University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web site. Because of this, it is crucial to stay away from these snakes. If you or anyone else you know experiences a bite from a tiger rattlesnake, it is vital to get urgent medical help. After a tiger rattlesnake bite, an individual may experience swelling and localized pain among other possible effects.
The mating season for tiger rattlesnakes takes place between the end of May and the middle of August. Litters emerge between June and September, generally consisting of six or fewer live young. Similarly to many other varieties of rattlesnakes, tiger rattlesnake mothers do not lay eggs; instead they welcome their youngsters through a form of live birthing. At birth, the baby snakes are usually around 9 inches in length.
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: Rattlesnakes
- Reptiles of Arizona: Tiger Rattlesnake
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Crotalus tigris
- Arizona Game and Fish Department: Arizona Rattlesnakes
- ASDM Sonoran Desert Digital Library: Tiger Rattlesnake
- San Diego Natural History Museum: Crotalus tigris
- IUCN Red List: Crotalus tigris
- ASDM Digital Library for Kids: Tiger Rattlesnake