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Aruba Island Rattlesnake

(Crotalus unicolor)


This moderately sized rattlesnake is endemic to the island of Aruba 15 miles north of the mainland of Venezuela. Like many populations of animals with no mainland contact they have evolved much differently than their mainland cousins. Arubas close proximity to the equator provides the island with an almost constant daytime temperature of 95 degrees Celsius with little variation in the seasons. A wet and dry season does exist on the island with most of the rainfall falling between the months of September and January. Most of the rattlesnake population is restricted to the undeveloped interior of the island. On the surface, it appears that the snakes have been concentrated to this small part of the island in direct response to human encroachment, but this interior habitat varies quite drastically from the coastal areas, leading some researchers to speculate that this is their historical range as well. Most of their struggles come from the introduction of feral animals introduced to the island over the years. Some estimates put their population at less than 225 adults left in the wild. These numbers validated an SSP (species survival plan) to be established in 1983 to ensure a viable captive population remains in zoos worldwide.

Knoxville Zoo currently houses two individuals in the collection with none currently on display in the herp department.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Crotalus
Species: unicolor