What do rattlesnakes eat?

Rattlesnakes are carnivorous reptiles that primarily feed on small mammals, birds, amphibians, and other reptiles. Here are the key points about their diet based on the provided search results:


  • Rattlesnakes eat a variety of prey including rodents (mice, rats, squirrels, chipmunks), rabbits, birds, bird eggs, lizards, frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, insects (grasshoppers, crickets, beetles), and even small crocodiles124.
  • Their diet varies based on their location, habitat, and the available prey opportunities4. They are generalist predators that will eat any appropriately sized animal.
  • Baby rattlesnakes feed mainly on very small lizards, snakes, and insects since their mouths are too small for larger prey45.

Hunting Behavior

  • Rattlesnakes are ambush predators that lie in wait for prey to pass by, then strike with a venomous bite to subdue their prey14.
  • They use heat-sensing pits near their eyes to detect the body heat of warm-blooded prey even in complete darkness12.
  • After striking, they release the prey and wait for the venom to immobilize it before consuming the prey whole4.
  • Rattlesnakes prefer to eat live prey rather than scavenging dead animals5.
So in summary, rattlesnakes are opportunistic carnivores that consume a wide variety of small animals, with a preference for rodents and other small mammals when available1234.
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