Rattlesnakes can swim well but have a very limited strike range when in water. They live in swamps as well as forests, deserts, grasslands, scrub brush and deserts.
Rattlesnakes prefer hunting prey on land by ambush hunting or by going down burrows where small animals live. They use their venom to kill prey with a quick bite, tracking a bitten animal by scent if it moves away. Once a prey animal is dead, the rattlesnake swallows it head-first. A good meal can last a rattlesnake as long as two weeks. Rattlesnakes control the populations of small mammals in the ecosystems they inhabit.