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Eastern Diamond-Backed Rattlesnake Status Assessment

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake crossing a road by Pierson Hill

The eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) was petitioned for federal listing as threatened in 2012, prompting a 2013−2016 status assessment.  FWC staff compiled 1,663 recent (2001−2016) records from museums, databases, road and drift-fence surveys, and a reporting webpage.  Recent records exist from 66 counties and 345 conservation lands, which account for 78% of all records.  Apalachicola National Forest and Blackwater River State Forest each had 47−48 records.  These records were used to create a Maxent potential habitat model that determined that 35% of high-quality potential habitat within its range occurs on conservation lands.  The species still occurs throughout its historical range, including parts of the Florida Keys, but populations have been extirpated from some urban areas, particularly in the southeastern peninsula.  Diamondbacks are often found in open-canopied pine forests that frequently burn, but they can be found in a variety of habitats and are good swimmers, which helps them colonize islands.  Primary threats are habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation plus road mortality and human persecution.