We conducted a three-year study to describe the ecology and behavior of the Midget Faded Rattlesnake, Crotalus organus concolor. We encountered 426 and telemetered 50 C. o. concolor between 2000 and 2002. We found that their primary diet was lizards (associated with rock outcrops), though they will consume small mammals and birds. They den in aggregations, although in low numbers when compared to other subspecies. Movements and activity ranges were among the largest reported for rattlesnakes. Minimum convex polygon area was 117.8 ha for males, 63.9 ha for nongravid females, and 4.8 ha for gravid females. Mean distances traveled per year were 2122.0 m for males, 1956.0 m for nongravid females, and 296.7 m for gravid and postpartum females. Following emergence from hibernation, they spent several weeks shedding, often in aggregations before migration, and migrations occurred in early summer. Most snakes made straight-line movements to and from discrete summer activity ranges where short, multidirectional movements ensued, although others made multidirectional movements throughout the active season. We observed mating behavior between 21 July and 12 August. Gravid females gave birth during the third week of August. Mean clutch size was 4.17 (range 2-7). We found that the sex ratio was skewed favoring females 1:1.24, and they were sexually dimorphic in size (males SVL = 44.1 cm; females SVL = 40.8 cm). Our data further illustrate the diversity within the large group of Western Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis). Copyright 2007 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.
Additional publication details
Ecology and behavior of the Midget Faded Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus concolor) in Wyoming