Eastern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
Crotalus adamanteus is a venomous pitviper species found in the southeastern United States. It is the heaviest (though not longest) venomous snake in the Americas and the largest rattlesnake. No subspecies are currently recognized.
These snakes forage actively or lie in ambush for small mammals, especially rabbits and rice rats (Oryzomys). Their diet also includes birds. Prey is struck and released, after which they follow the scent trail left by the dying prey.
This species has the reputation of being the most dangerous venomous snake in North America While not usually aggressive, they are large and powerful. Wright and Wright (1957) mention a mortality rate of 30% and that some victims have died within a matter of hours.
In proportion to its length, it has the longest fangs of any rattlesnake species, with calculations leading us to expect that an 8-foot (240 cm) specimen would have fangs with a total length of 27 mm (over one inch).
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is one of the most feared snakes in the world and rightfully so. In addition to being the most venomous snake in North America, this ominous species is also the largest rattlesnake on Earth, averaging between 33 and 72 inches in length (Conant & Collins, 1998). The characteristic diamonds are dark brown or black in color, and are strongly outlined by a row of cream-colored or yellowish scales. The ground color of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake can vary from olive, to brown,to almost black on some individuals.
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake feasts primarily on rabbits, rodents, and even birds, and has demonstrated a readiness to capture prey at all times (Kimel, 2002). Like other members of the Viperidae family, this snake possesses large fangs which it uses to inject large quantities of venom into its prey. In fact, its fangs are of greater length in proportion to its overall size than any other poisonous snake in North America (Ditmars, 1933). The bite of this large predator is easily fatal for humans, often within an hour's time (Ditmars, 1933). However, human fatalities are rather rare and this snake will usually only bite a human if provoked and provided with no escape options (Stejneger,1893). Crotalus adamanteus is an ultimate "sit and wait" predator, using its natural body camouflage to blend in with its surroundings and sit silently until prey comes within striking distance of its deadly venomous fangs. A single bite with its fangs is easily enough to kill rodents, rabbits, and other common prey.
The Eastern Diamondback provides food for king snakes, eastern indigo snakes, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, and many other species.
Kingsnakes are a type of colubrid snake that are members of the Lampropeltis genus, which also includes the milk snake along with another four species and 45 sub-species.
Lampropeltis means "shiny shield" (from Greek λαμπρος, "shine" + πελτα, "small shield"), a name given to them in reference to their dorsal scales. The majority of kingsnakes have quite vibrant patterns on their skin. Kingsnakes use constriction to kill their prey and tend to be opportunistic when it comes to their diet; they will eat other snakes (ophiophagy), including venomous snakes, lizards, rodents, birds and eggs. The Common Kingsnake genus are known to be immune to the venom of other snakes and are known to eat rattlesnakes (note - Kingsnakes are not necessarily immune to the venom of snakes from different localities.). The "king" in their name (as with the king cobra) references their taste for other snakes.
The Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus, is a large owl native to the Americas. It is an adaptable bird with a vast range and is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas.
Owls have spectacular binocular vision allowing them to pinpoint prey and see in low light. The eyes of Great Horned Owls are nearly as large as those of humans and are immobile within their circular bone sockets. Instead of turning their eyes, they turn their heads. Therefore, their neck must be able to turn a full 270 degrees in order to see in other directions without moving its entire body.
An owl's hearing is as good – if not better – than its vision; they have better depth perception and better perception of sound elevation (up-down direction) than humans. This is due to owl ears not being placed in the same position on either side of their head: the right ear is typically set higher in the skull and at a slightly different angle. By tilting or turning its head until the sound is the same in each ear, an owl can pinpoint both the horizontal and vertical direction of a sound.
These birds also have 500 pounds per square inch of crushing power in their talons. An average adult human male has about 60 pounds per square inch in his hands.