Top 5 Venomous Rattlesnakes in America

It is very difficult to come up with a list of top 5 venomous Rattlesnakes in America as there are many factors to consider. These factors include: the toxicity of the venom, the likelihood of encountering the snake, their tendency to bite etc.

Top 5 Venomous Rattlesnakes in America

For this list we compiled our top 5 venomous Rattlesnakes in America based on the above factors. We also chose species that cover a wide geographic range. This is a non-exhaustive list of some of the more venomous Rattlesnakes in America.

1 – Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake has a fierce reputation. They are responsible for more snake bites than any other snake in the USA. They have a wide distribution and can be found in states such as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. Their distribution also extends into Northern Mexico.

They have a hemotoxic venom that primarily affects the heart, blood vessels and blood cells. Their venom also contains enzymes that can destroy human tissue and impair skeletal muscle regeneration which can lead to fibrosis or permanent tissue loss.

2 – Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

The Eastern Diamondback is the largest species of Rattlesnake with specimens reaching up to 7ft in length. They are reportedly the heaviest species of venomous snake in the world although they are not the longest.

They are endemic to the South-Eastern United Snakes with the majority of specimens residing in Florida. Their range does however extend north into South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is one of the most venomous snakes in America. They have a hemotoxic venom that kills red blood cells and causes tissue damage. They have a very high venom yield with a single bite containing enough venom to kill up to four adult men.

3 – Mojave Rattlesnake

Venemous Rattlesnakes - Mojave Rattlesnake

The Mojave Rattlesnake is native to South-Western USA and down into Mexico where it is primarily found in deserts.

It can be found in states such as California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas. They prefer desert regions but they can also be found at the base of mountains or among sparse vegetation.

They produce a deadly cocktail of hemotoxic and neorotoxic venom and potentially have the most toxic venom of all Rattlesnakes. However, with the availability of antivenom there is a very good chance of survival following a bite.

4 – Massasauga Rattlesnake

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Like all Rattlesnakes, the Massasauga Rattlesnake is a pit viper. They are a small species of Rattlesnake with specimens usually topping out at 2-2.5 foot in length.

They have a large distribution covering much of North-Eastern USA and extending as far south as parts of Texas. Their range covers states such as Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Oklahoma.

The Massasauga Rattlesnake has a cytotoxic venom that destroys living tissue. They are a relatively shy snake so most bites occur from people accidentally stepping on the snake while hiking.

5 – Timber Rattlesnake

Venomous Rattlesnakes - Timber Rattlesnake

The Timber Rattlesnake is Endemic to the Eastern USA. They are a medium sized snakes that generally grow to a length of 3-5 foot. They have heat sensing pits for tracking warm blooded prey. They are not an aggressive species and generally only bite when stepped on or provoked.

They can be found in states such as Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and into the Northern parts of Florida. They like to live in deciduous forests where they can hide among the leaf litter. This makes them hard to see and hikers should remain alert when hiking in their territory.

The Timber Rattlesnake is a dangerous snake as it has a high venom yield. They are however reluctant to bite and usually display plenty of warning before striking. However, if they are stepped on or provoked they will strike. They have large fangs that can inject a significant amount of venom with a single bite.