Crotalus durissus unicolor

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Crotalus durissus unicolor
Crotalus unicolor.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Crotalinae
Genus: Crotalus
Species: C. durissus
Subspecies: C. d. unicolor
Trinomial name
Crotalus durissus unicolor
van Lidth de Jeude, 1887
  • Crotalus horridus var. unicolor - van Lidth de Jeude, 1887
  • Crotalus unicolor - Klauber, 1936
  • Crotalus durissus unicolor - Brongersma, 1940
  • Crotalus (Crotalus) durissus unicolor - Peters & Orejas-Miranda, 1970
  • Crotalus unicolor - McCranie, 1986
  • Crotalus durissus unicolor - Campbell & Lamar, 1989[2]
Common names: Aruba rattlesnake,[3] Aruba island rattlesnake,[4] Cascabel (Papiamento).

Crotalus durissus unicolor is a venomous pitviper subspecies[5] found only on the Caribbean island of Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela. Critically endangered, it is estimated that fewer than 230 adults survive in the wild. It is sometimes still classified as a distinct species.


Moderately sized, this species attains an adult length of approximately 90 cm, and weighs about one kilogram.[6] It is light brown, tan, or almost pink in color, reflecting the soil color of its native habitat, with darker brown diamond-shaped markings, but colors may vary from white to apricot, or brown to slate. The markings are sometimes nearly invisible, or only visible in a narrow stripe down the middle of the back.

Geographic range[edit]

The snakes are endemic to the island of Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela.[4] They exist only in thornscrub and desert habitats on the southeastern half of the island.[7] The type locality given is "Aruba."[2]

Conservation status[edit]

This species is classified as critically endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List for the following criteria: C2b (v2.3, 1994).[1] This means that the population is estimated to number less than 250 mature individuals, a continuing decline has been observed, projected, or inferred, in the number of mature individuals, and that the population structure is such that all individuals are in a single subpopulation. Year assessed: 1996.[8]

C. d. unicolor in captivity.

These snakes are found only on the island of Aruba, where they are mostly limited to the rocky, dry southern tip of the island. Due to their extremely limited geographic range, about 230 animals left in the wild, and the ever encroaching human habitation into their territory (there is only about 25 square kilometers left undeveloped), the Aruba Island rattlesnake is among the rarest rattlesnakes in the world and listed as critically endangered. Unfortunately, while exporting from the island is illegal, it has no other legal protection on the island either. The snake is now a part of the Species Survival Plan for captive breeding.


Its diet consists of rodents, birds and lizards.


Crotalus unicolor at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Males reach sexual maturity in four years; females in five. After a gestation time of four months, females give birth to between five and fifteen live young at a time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Crotalus unicolor at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 28 August 2007.
  2. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  3. ^ U.S. Navy. 1991. Poisonous Snakes of the World. US Govt. New York: Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  4. ^ a b Klauber LM. 1997. Rattlesnakes: Their Habitats, Life Histories, and Influence on Mankind. Second Edition. First published in 1956, 1972. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-21056-5.
  5. ^ "Crotalus durissus unicolor". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 24 August 2007. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Campbell JA, Lamar WW. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. 2 volumes. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca and London. 870 pp. 1500 plates. ISBN 0-8014-4141-2.
  8. ^ 1994 Categories & Criteria (version 2.3) at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 28 August 2007.
  • van Lidth de Jeude, Theodorus Willem. 1887. On a collection of reptiles and fishes from the West-Indies. Notes from the Leyden Museum, 9: 129-139.

External links[edit]