Crotalus atrox preys on small mammals and birds, and sometimes other reptiles and amphibians, and even fish and invertebrates. In a matter of seconds, individuals of this species can leave a fatal bite by injecting venom into its prey. The teeth often remain inside the prey, but are replaced 2 to 4 times annually by reserve teeth. Muscles surrounding the venom glands control the amount of venom released, as well as the flow of venom to the fangs. Rattlesnakes swallow their prey whole, then digest as the food passes though the body. Rattlesnakes in the wild eat every 2 to 3 weeks on average. Annual water intake in rattlesnakes roughly equals body weight. In drier climates, where water availability is lower, moisture is assimilated from prey. More water is absorbed during shedding due to desiccation and evaporation.
Biomes: desert, scrubland