Diamond patterns are a sign of a potentially-dangerous snake species. Most diamond blotches are seen as rattlesnakes, known for their venomous bite. Snakes with diamond patterns don’t include as many species as snakes with other patterns such as stripes.
Diamond patches should be visible. They are characterized by 4 clear corners and not similar patterns such as square blotches.
Snakes with diamond-shaped patterns have a light color body with darker diamond patterns.
These patterns are continuous in most species as they run from head to tail.
Some snakes have multiple diamond blotches while others only have 1. The number of blotches may not be constant, but it has a given upper and lower limit in most species such as rattlesnakes.
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What is a snake pattern?
A snake pattern is the combination of colors that makes up the appearance of a snake. This is specific to a species even if multiple patterns or colors are seen in the same snake species at times.
Snake patterns can also be seen as scale coloration that forms the appearance of a snake. While snakes can look different from one species to another, they can be categorized according to their patterns.
Which types of snake patterns are common?
The following snake patterns are the most common, covering almost all types of snakes.
Diamond snake patterns represent colorful diamond shapes on different color backgrounds. Diamonds with 4 clear corners on the dorsal of the species are common. Many types of rattlesnakes have diamond-shaped patterns.
Spots are small or large colorful patterns seen on the skin of snakes. They can have various colors which can be different from the background color or of a similar color, but a different shade.
Spots are seen on the dorsal part of snakes and help with species identification.
Examples of snakes with spots include the Southern Hognose snake and the Mole Kingsnake.
Blotches or large colored sections on the snakes are also seen in different colors. These types of patterns are seen on snakes such as Mangrove Salt Marsh snakes and the California Kingsnake.
Stripes are colorful lines across the dorsal of a snake. This pattern can include one or multiple parallel lines. Eastern Garter snakes are a common striped snake species.
Solid colors are types of uniform color snake patterns. This pattern comes without stripes, spots, blotches, or diamonds. Rough Earthsnakes are an example of a snake that comes in uniform coloring.
Snakes with bands are common and they are represented by one or multiple bands on the dorsal. The Red and Black Banded snake and the Scarlet snake are common species of banded snakes.
Are snakes with a diamond pattern venomous?
Almost all snakes with a diamond pattern are rattlesnakes. These are some of the most venomous snakes in the world making diamond-patterned snakes highly venomous.
The type of venom diamond snakes ranges from neurotoxic to hemotoxic.
Diamond pattern snakes use venom to paralyze prey. This venom can be used against people with deadly effects or with serious health effects.
12 Snakes with Diamond Pattern
The following species of diamond pattern snakes are the most common around the world
1. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus adamanteus
Common name: Eastern diamondback rattlesnake
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are the most common diamond-pattern snakes in North America.
Diamond patterns on these snakes are known for their hollow interior, which makes for clear separation from other similar species.
The color of these diamond shapes varies but they are typically dark.
Brown and dark olive-green are the most common colors these diamond shapes come in.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes have distinguishable diamond patterns as they are seen on the dorsal of the species.
There are no diamond patterns on the underbelly of the Eastern Diamond Rattlesnake.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are further identified by the rattles at the tip of the tail.
These snakes use their coloring to hide in bushes where they come out to pounce on prey. Thick vegetation they hide in and the diamond patterns make them difficult to spot.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes come out of thick vegetation to catch rabbits and other mammals.
They rattle their tail when threatened.
Snakes of this genus are highly venomous. Almost half of their bites result in human deaths.
2. Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus atrox
Common name: Western diamond-backed rattlesnake, Texas diamond-back
Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes have dorsal diamond-shaped markings.
These snakes are known for forming these diamond shapes as the snake ages.
They begin as small hexagonal shapes that finally develop into large diamond shapes.
The diamond shapes of the species are dark brown. They have a thin white border to make them stand out.
Diamond shapes of the Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes are full and not hollow in the center as the diamond shapes of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.
The species is dangerous and highly venomous.
Bites of this species are so intense its teeth can be stuck in the victim as they can be regenerated up to a few times per year.
3. Diamondback Watersnake
Scientific name: Nerodia rhombifer
Common name: Diamondback watersnake
This watersnake is characterized by its dark diamond blotches. These patterns are dark brown as opposed to their gray-brown or yellow body.
Diamond blotches of the species run from head to tail.
Snakes of this genus are normally found next to sources of water. These include lakes, ponds, and small rivers.
Diamondback Watersnakes are dangerous but not aggressive. They only prefer to bite as a last resort option.
4. Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus ruber
Common name: Red diamond rattlesnake, red rattlesnake, red diamond snake, red diamond-backed rattlesnake, red rattler, and western diamond rattlesnake
The Read Diamond Rattlesnake is known for its dark color diamond-shaped blotches. These blotches can have a light (white or yellow) border on most snakes of this species.
As with most rattlesnakes, these blotches are only seen on their dorsal as the ventral is light-colored and unmarked.
Snakes of this genus are venomous. They use venom to paralyze prey. A large amount of injected venom can kill prey or people.
As pit vipers, they can sense the body heat of small and large mammals. They use this heat to detect movement before they bite.
5. Southern Pacific Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus helleri
Common name: Southern Pacific rattlesnake, black diamond rattlesnake, black (diamond) rattler, gray diamond-back, mountain rattler, Pacific rattler, and San Diegan rattler
This species is known for its dark diamond blotches and rattle and the tip of the tail which identify it as venomous.
These blotches can have bright borders. As juveniles, these colors are different as the background base color is lighter.
Common in California and Mexico, the species is highly venomous.
The venom of the species contains 2 types of toxins that can be fatal in case of serious bites.
Myotoxins and hemotoxins are known to affect muscles and blood circulation with a potentially fatal effect.
Most common in Southwestern California, the Southern Pacific Rattlesnake has a similar size to other rattlesnakes. It grows to a maximum adult length between 22 and 55 inches.
6. Arizona Black Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus cerberus
Common name: Arizona black rattlesnake, black rattlesnake, black diamond rattlesnake, brown rattlesnake, Cerberus rattlesnake, mountain diamond-back
Arizona Black Rattlesnakes are also known as Mountain Diamond Rattlesnakes.
This species has black diamond blotches partially separated by white borders.
Common in mountainous regions of Arizona, this snake is often seen around the Hualapai Mountains.
Snakes of this genus have a rare ability to change or adapt colors, similar to chameleons or prairie snakes.
They can change colors slowly or rapidly, depending on their environment.
Some studies suggest these snakes change color based on mood. They can have a completely different color when under threat.
While common, these snakes are easily seen as they live in remote areas on forested mountains.
7. Diamond Python
Scientific name: Morelia spilota spilota
Common name: Diamond python
Common in Southern Australia, the Diamond Python is an arboreal species with bright diamond marks and black borders.
Active during the day, these pythons aren’t particularly dangerous despite their size they can expand to 6.6 feet.
These pythons are found in woodlands and suburban areas.
They can make it to homes. However, they do not bite.
Rare cases of Diamond python bites might need medical attention as this species is known to leave teeth in the wound.
8. Mexican West Coast Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus basiliscus
Common name: Mexican west coast rattlesnake, Mexican green rattler, Mexican west coast green rattlesnake, cascabel verde mexicana
The Mexican West Coast Rattlesnake is known for having large diamond blotches. Snakes of this genus have dark gray or gray-brown blotches with black and white borders.
Some color morphs are characteristic of the species.
The snake can have a light dorsal background color or a dark color.
Lighter colors are specific to juveniles.
Black and white borders as well as black and mustard-yellow borders are also distinguished within the species.
Snakes of this genus are known, as predators. As pit vipers, they are bound to eat mammals.
The West Coast of Mexico is the area where the species is most prevalent.
9. Aruba Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus unicolor
Common name: Aruba rattlesnake, Aruba island rattlesnake, Cascabel (Papiamento)
The Aruba Rattlesnake comes in multiple morphs. All of them include diamond blotches but some are barely visible.
A red-brown morph is known for having dark red diamond blotches with yellow bordering. The 4 corners of the diamond pattern are black further contrasting the light red dorsal color of the snakes.
Native to Aruba, this species lives in the most remote areas of the island. It prefers the dry habitats of the South.
The remote habitat of the species means the Aruba Rattlesnake is one of the most threatened species of diamond rattlesnakes as only a few hundred survive in the wilderness today.
10. South American Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus durissus
Common name: South American rattlesnake, tropical rattlesnake, neotropical rattlesnake, Guiana rattlesnake, víbora de cascabel, cascabel, cascabela
Also known as the Tropical Rattlesnake, the South American Rattlesnake is one of the main species with multiple diamonds on its back.
This snake has up to 32 diamond shapes of a darker green color and yellow bordering from head to tail.
It also exhibits 2 dark lines on its head.
These snakes grow to 4.9 feet and represent one of the largest venomous pit vipers.
South American Rattlesnakes have neurotoxic venom. This type of venom can be dangerous or even deadly.
When dangerous, the venom can cause slow paralysis, partial or full blindness, and renal failure.
Immediate symptoms after the bite are visible in all cases. Humans that get bitten by this venomous snake start to have breathing difficulties within seconds.
11. Mojave Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus scutulatus
Common name: Mojave rattlesnake, Mojave green
The venomous Mojave Rattlesnake has a line of diamond blotches along its body.
Mojave Rattlesnakes have varying colors and all of them include diamond shapes. From the faded gray color with dark gray diamond blotches to the brown morph with dark brown diamond blotches, the snake comes in a patterned appearance.
Mojave Rattlesnakes are seen as the most venomous rattlesnakes in the world.
Their potent venom made from neurotoxic and hemotoxic enzymes and proteins is lethal to many people.
As its name implies, this species is known for its love of arid climates and desert areas such as the Mojave Desert.
12. Red-naped Snake
Scientific name: Furina diadema
Common name: Red-naped snake
Red-naped snakes have an orange diamond-shaped blotch on the back of the neck. This is a species that only has one such blotch without them continuing down to the tip of the tail.
This shape can vary within the species as some Red-naped snakes have an orange oval shape instead of a diamond shape on the back of the head.
This multicolored snake is known for having a dark gray, black, and orange dorsal as well as a gray, white, or yellow underbelly.
Red-naped snakes are venomous but not considered as dangerous to humans as rattlesnakes.
Diamond patterned snakes are not as common as blotched or striped snakes. Most diamond snakes are rattlesnakes.
These snakes are known for having rattles at the tip of the tail which they shake to keep predators away.
Rattlesnakes have diamond patterns of gray, olive, or brown coloring. These diamonds can also be hollowed with a yellow, white, or gray middle.
Snakes of this genus are also known to be venomous. Rattlesnakes use their diamond markings to keep predators away.