Rattlesnake Facts

Rattlesnake Facts
Rattlesnakes are easily recognized animals. There are 32 known species of rattlesnakes that live in North and South America. Rattlesnakes are mainly associated with arid and desert rocky areas, but they can be also found in forests, prairies and swampy habitats. Major threats to survival of rattlesnakes are habitat loss and organized killing (extermination) due to fear of these creatures. Also, a lot of rattlesnakes die in the road accidents. Timber rattler, massasauga and canebrake rattlesnake are listed as threatened and endangered species.
Interesting Rattlesnake Facts:
Size of rattlesnake depends on the species. Largest species can reach length of 8 feet. On average, rattlesnakes are 3 to 4 feet long.
Rattlesnakes are not very colorful because they like to camouflage with their environment. They are usually black, brown, olive or grey in color.
Rattlesnakes have triangular head and vertical pupils. Their name comes from a rattle at the end of the tail. Rattle is made of keratin (same substance builds nails and hair in humans).
Rattle grows continuously. New segment is added each time snake shed its skin (couple of times per year).
Rattling sound informs predator to stay away from the snake. When rattlesnake is surprised, it can attack without producing rattling sound.
Rattlesnakes are venomous snakes. They produce very strong hemotoxic venom (which destroys blood cells and vessels). It is used for hunting and for defense against predators. Rattlesnake bites are fatal for humans if not treated with antidote immediately.
Rattlesnakes sometimes bite without releasing the poison. These types of bites are known as "dry bites".
Some snakes are immune to the poison of rattlesnakes. Thanks to that feature, king snakes are main predators of rattlesnakes.
Rattlesnakes are carnivores (meat-eaters). They hunt rats, mice and small birds usually.
Rattlesnakes have special kind of thermal receptors that are used for detection of warm-blooded creatures (their prey). They can also locate prey by using the tongue which collects scent molecules from the air. Also, rattlesnake senses vibration of the ground.
Optimal temperature for the survival of the rattlesnake is between 27 and 32 degrees of Celsius. They can survive freezing temperature, but temperatures above 38 degrees are fatal for them.
Rattlesnake hibernates during the cold time of the year. Usually large number of rattlesnakes gathers in the underground dens and curl around each other for the purpose of warming.
Rattlesnakes are mostly associated with arid habitats, but they can survive equally good near the water. Rattlesnakes are excellent swimmers.
Mating season of rattlesnakes takes place during the spring, summer and autumn, depending on the species. Female gives birth to 8 to 10 babies. Young rattlesnakes are equipped with concentrated poison and they can be even more dangerous than adult snakes.

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