Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Survey

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was recently petitioned to list the eastern diamondback rattlesnake as a threatened or endangered species. The eastern diamondback was historically found in the lower Coastal Plain from North Carolina to Louisiana. As the Service reviews the status of the eastern diamondback, the National Council for Air & Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI), a non-profit research center that provides technical information on environmental issues for the forest products industry, has developed a survey and is gathering data to improve understanding of its distribution and habitat associations.

The primary objective of the survey is to document the range of forest conditions occupied by eastern diamondback rattlesnakes. NCASI will routinely collate and analyze survey results, and provide a summary report to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

If you encounter an eastern diamondback rattlesnake, NCASI would greatly appreciate your participation in the survey. Observe the snake only from a safe distance. Distinguishing characteristics of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake are:

  • crisp thin yellow diamonds on its back enclosing black pigment centered with brown
  • densely black face with two thin slanted yellow lines on either side of the black eye
  • olive-brown tail never with bold black and white "coon tail" bands

These photos (PDF file) will help you to identify the eastern diamondback rattlesnake and distinguish it from the timber (or canebrake) rattlesnake.

There are three ways to report your observation of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake to NCASI: 

Take the survey online (preferred)
Download the survey form as a PDF file, open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader, then:

  • Enter your responses directly in the file, save the file and submit it via email to snakesurvey@ncasi.org, or
  • Print the PDF file, mark your responses, and mail a printed copy to the address at the bottom of the form.

If this snake was observed on land owned by a forest products company or of interest to a forest products company, you also may give the completed form to a company employee or leave it at the company’s offices.

NOTE: NCASI will remove any information that would identify individual respondents and/or landowners, as well as precise locations, before providing results to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Questions about this project may be directed to Dr. T. Bently Wigley, NCASI Program Manager, (864-656-0840), bwigley@ncasi.org.