The color pattern generally consists of a dusty-looking gray-brown ground color, but it may also be pinkish-brown, brick red, yellowish, pinkish, or chalky white. This ground color is overlaid dorsally with a series of 23-45 (mean, 36) dorsal body blotches that are dark gray-brown to brown in color . The first of these may be a pair of short stripes that extend backwards to eventually merge. Some of the first few blotches may be somewhat rectangular, but then become more hexagonal and eventually take on a distinctive diamond shape, hence the name "diamondback rattlesnake". The tail has two to eight (usually four to six) black bands separated by ash white or pale gray interspaces; this led to the nickname of "coon tail", though other species (e. g. , Mojave rattlesnake) have similarly banded tails. Its postocular stripe is smoky gray or dark gray-brown and extends diagonally from the lower edge of the eye across the side of the head. This stripe is usually bordered below by a white stripe running from the upper preocular scale down to the supralabial scales just below and behind the eye. Its off-white belly is usually unmarked, its anal scale is undivided, and its dorsal scales are extremely keeled, often in rows of 25 to 27 near the midbody.
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