Diet of the rattlesnake Crotalus durissus in southeastern Brazil (Serpentes, Viperidae)
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Gut contents of 633 live rattlesnakes from southeastern Brazil received at the Instituto Butantanitute, SP, Brazil between 1993 and 1995 were studied. The snakes were weighed, measured and sexed. Two hundred and fifty-nine rattlesnakes had stomach and/or intestinal contents. Prey size was estimated by comparison of prey items with specimens from museum collections. Rodents and small marsupials were the main prey eaten by the rattlesnakes, and only 1% of the items were found in the stomach, whereas 41% of the individuals in the sample had feces in the intestine. There was low correlation between size of snake and prey size. No seasonal difference in frequency was found between fed and not fed males, but the occurrence of fed females was significantly lower during summer than winter months (28.9% and 51.8%, respectively). Fed newborn rattlesnakes had the lowest frequency, and also fed on rodents.