Conservation and Management
California is home to nearly 50 native snake species, including 7 species of rattlesnake. One species, the red diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) is a Species of Special Concern.
Snake Fungal Disease (SFD) is a newly emerging disease in snakes and caused by a fungus, (Ophidiomyces ophidiicola). It may only cause mild infection in many snakes, but is known to cause significant mortality in species of special concern in other states, such as the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) not found here.
- Since 2008, SFD has been detected in more than 30 snake species in North America and Europe. It is present in at least 38 states.
- In 2019, California confirmed its first two known cases of SFD in a California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae) and non-native Florida water snake (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris).
- How SFD may impact snakes in California is unknown. Report sick or dead snakes to CDFW. For more information, visit the "Disease and Mortality Monitoring" Snake Fungal Disease page.
NOTE: A Commercial Native Rattlesnake Permit is required for every person who possess, propagate, exchange, or transport native rattlesnakes for commercialized venom extraction, or sell, import, or export native rattlesnake venom or products derived from native rattlesnake venom for commercial purposes, or purchase native rattlesnakes from a biological supply house, permitted through Section 651, for the purpose of developing and selling biomedical and therapeutic products.
Science and Research
CDFW continues working to better understand the complex conservation needs of the rattlesnakes and other native reptiles. Research, disease surveillance and monitoring, is vital to applying an adaptive approach to managing their population in California.