20+ Interesting Facts About Rattlesnakes

  1. Rattlesnake belongs to the pit viper family. Copperheads and cottonmouths are the closest relatives of rattlesnakes. 
  2. Like other pit vipers, rattlesnakes have two pits under their nostrils. They detect heat and assist in hunting warm-blooded animals.
  3. The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in North America and the longest rattlesnake species in the world. It can reach a length of 8 feet or more. These snakes can shake their rattle up to 90 times per second. During its lifetime, an eastern diamondback rattlesnake eats thousands of rodents.
  4. Like other cold-blooded animals, rattlesnakes can remain alive for minutes or even hours after the decapitation of their head. A rattlesnake head can sense, flick the tongue and inflict venomous bites long after it has severed from the body. (Source)
  5. Scales on rattlesnake skin can suck water and ice on the ground. It helps the snake to survive in a desert environment. (Source)
  6. There are 33 known species and several subspecies of rattlesnakes. All these species are native to the Americas, with the largest concentration in the deserts of the southwestern USA and northern Mexico.
  7. Mojave rattlesnake has the most potent venom among rattlesnakes. Tiger rattlesnake is the second deadliest rattlesnake in the world, and has the smallest head among rattlesnakes. 
  8. Rattlesnakes got their name due to rattling sounds produced by shaking of their tail as a warning to any threat. Muscles of the tail can shake the rattle 90 times per second. Snakes can lose and regain rattles. Baby rattlesnakes do not have rattles. Shedding of the skin increases rattles. (Source)
  9. Rattlesnakes mainly hunt and eat small rodents and lizards. They swallow their prey whole, and the digestion process may take several days.
  10. Rattlesnakes have several enemies despite their fearsome appearance. Their predators include king snakes, black snakes, hawks, eagles, owls, feral cats, foxes, coyotes, and other related animals.
  11. Rattlesnake bites on humans are dangerous but rarely fatal if treated immediately. Venom in rattlesnakes can cause internal hemorrhage and destroy blood cells and skin tissues. (Source)
  12. Rattlesnake venom assists in the digestion of food in its stomach. The venom inhibits the rotting of the prey and facilitates the entering of digestive secretion inside the prey’s body.
  13. Texas Rattlesnake Festival is an annual event in the town of Sweetwater. It is the world's largest rattlesnake roundup, with attendance of more than 25,000 people. (Source)
  14. Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and Western rattlesnakes bite the highest number of domestic animals in North America. The fatality rate of dogs from the bites of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes is 19.4%, the highest in the world. (Source)
    Snake handling by members of a sect
    A Christian sect practices snake handling with rattlesnakes

  15. Members of a Christian sect in the USA practice religious “snake handling” with rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes. Snake handling has been part of religious service by Pentecostal Holiness churches since the early 20th Century.
  16. Rattlesnake meat is the most popular snake meat in the United States. It is a regular food in the Southwestern USA.
  17. There is a history of rattlesnake-like deity in several Mesoamerican religions. This god, a combination of a bird and a rattlesnake, was known as a “plumed serpent.”
  18. Like other reptiles, female rattlesnake hatch eggs inside its body and give birth to live young. Generally, it gives birth from 4 to 10 baby rattlesnakes in a clutch. The gestation period takes from 3 to 5 months, according to species. Females reproduce after every 2 to 5 years. (Source)
  19. The Santa Catalina rattlesnake is the only species that has lost its rattle. The range of this rattlesnake is limited to an island in California, and its main diet is the only land mammal (an endemic mouse) in that area. (Source)
  20. Researchers have proved that rattlesnakes assist the ecosystem by dispersing seeds. These seeds are the food of the rodents they eat. (Source)
  21. Woodrats, also known as packrats, are immune to rattlesnake venom. They can even kill rattlesnakes with their sharp teeth and claws. (Source)


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