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Rattlesnake: features, danger to humans, photo


Rattlesnake can usually be found in North America. Most often, it settles in holes, can live among stones. This type of snake belongs to the viper family and the pit subfamily.

If you look closely, it will become clear why they attribute to the pit species such as rattlesnake, photo they will tell you for themselves - between the nostrils and eyes you will see several dimples.

They help snakes find prey, because there are thermoreceptors that analyze the temperature of the environment. They quickly catch the slightest change in temperature if a victim appears nearby.

This is like a second vision that helps you quickly find and attack the victim. Rattlesnakepoisonous. She has several elongated teeth, from which poison is released during a bite.

Why is the rattlesnake? This name comes from several species that have a “rattle” on their tail. It consists of moving scales that make sounds when the tail oscillates.

Rattlesnake Habitat

These snakes quickly and easily adapt to any terrain. There are species that live in the jungle, others in the deserts, some even in water or on trees. Rattlesnakes do not like direct sunlight, so they try to lead a nocturnal lifestyle.

During the day, they most often hide in burrows or under stones, but at night they have a period of hunting. The victims, as a rule, are small rodents, birds. Moreover, according to studies, rattlesnakes constantly improve their hunting skills.

That is, they are developing, progressing. They can return for years to the same ambush site for hunting. During the winter, snakes hibernate, usually gathering together to warm each other.

Danger of a rattlesnake bite

Who didn’t look Rattlesnakes movie! It was with him that the panicky fear of rattlesnakes began. Rattlesnake Invasion really began to scare people. After all rattlesnake bite poisonous, but the serum may not be at hand. If we talk about the danger of a bite for a person, then it depends on many factors.

Undoubtedly, qualified help of doctors and serum, which is based on poison, are necessary. It is believed that the closer the bite to the head, the more dangerous for life. The bite site should not be treated with alcohol, as it will only accelerate the action of the poison. In general, it is better not to apply anything to the wound, you need to wait for help. Everything will depend on the location of the bite, on the amount of poison, on the speed of medical care.

However, it is worth saying that in small doses I use snake venom as a medicine. For example, with diseases such as leprosy, when you need to stop severe bleeding. Despite the fact that snakes are poisonous, they still often become victims of other animals.

Many animals and birds are not affected by poison, such as pigs, weasels, ferrets, vultures, peacocks, crows. And people with their activities reduce the population of rattlesnakes, because in many countries they even eat them, and they make bags, wallets, shoes from leather.

Life expectancy and rattlesnake breeding

The life expectancy of rattlesnake, as a rule, is 10-12 years. However, some individuals may live much longer. In the serpentarium, where they collect poison, snakes live very little, and the reasons are unknown, but in the zoo, with proper care, the life expectancy is the same as in the wild.

In fact, it is believed that the smaller the snake is in size, the more it lives, basically the average size of individuals ranges from eighty centimeters to a meter. True, there are snakes that reach one and a half meters.

Mammoths are viviparous, offspring hatch from eggs almost immediately, as the mother laid them. Moreover, an interesting fact, snakes are already born with a bright rattle on their tail. They attract victims with it, however, at first it is still not so big.

With each molt, the size of the rattle will increase, but the scales will not be able to determine the age of the individual, since they are lost, and the number of molts in snakes is different.

Interesting Rattlesnake Facts

These snakes are non-conflict. The first they do not attack the person, usually only defend themselves. However, every year about a hundred people die from the bites of these animals. Individuals overheat and die already at +45 degrees. The rattlesnake’s teeth are very sharp, they easily pierce leather shoes.

Scientists have noticed that when a snake is near death, it begins to behave very strangely. She throws herself at everyone, trying to bite everything that comes in the way, even her body. It is assumed that the snake is trying to commit suicide, but this is not proven, perhaps it is trying to cure itself with the help of its own poison.

Rattlesnakes are amazing. It is a pleasure to watch them. A lot of different films and programs about these amazing animals have been shot right now. In order to watch an interesting, informative film, just drive the key phrase into the search bar: “Rattlesnake video».

Among the proposed options, everyone can find for themselves an educational film about rattlesnakes. We can find these snakes only in zoos, which undoubtedly pleases. It’s good that these insidious predators are not found in our area, and you can admire them in the zoo, or by watching a movie on TV.

Viper relative

One of the most venomous reptiles is a direct relative of vipers. Rattlesnake is on the list of viper family, refers directly to the subfamily of poisonous, pit viper. Scientists have given this nickname to the subfamily due to the presence of a special organ located in the recess between the eye and nostrils.

It allows the cold-blooded predator to “see” the prey by the heat emanating from it. In other words, a rattlesnake can trap a victim in absolute darkness and attack when she suspects nothing.

Rattle secret

The rattlesnake, as already mentioned, has a rattle at the end of the tail. For some time it was not clear why the snake, hunting in the dark and at the same time not making a single sound, was suddenly endowed with such a unmasking agent from nature. But everything falls into place if you know who it is hunting for. Its diet consists of small mammals and birds. She warns large animals (including humans), raising noise with her rattle. Thus, it can be considered the most humane of the poisonous snakes.

This growth at the end of the tail consists of dead scales. Their number increases with each change in the skin of the reptile. Therefore, counting the scales on the rattle, you can find out how much the snake lived. Inside the rattles, it’s completely empty, so the sound is so sonorous.

Lifestyle & Area

According to herpetologists, 106 species of rattlesnakes (photos of some representatives are presented in the article) settled in America, and 69 in South Asia. The most common pitheads are muzzles. They live both in desert regions and in mountainous areas. Lifestyle may vary by subspecies. Some hunt and spend most of their time in trees. It’s easier and more convenient for others to crawl along the plain, and for the third, give rocky ledges and peaks.

When the ambient temperature rises, the rattlesnakes hide under stones, logs, fleeing from excess ultraviolet radiation. Activity is shown at dusk. True, in this mode, they live only in the hot season. On a fine, hot day, rattlesnakes move in the sun.

Once choosing a hole for itself, a rattlesnake can live in it for many years, and then its descendants. In the lair of the rattlesnake, several individuals can live. In the hibernation season, they can weave into a ball all together, warming each other. But some still prefer solitude.

Rattlesnakes hunt exclusively in ambush, waiting for prey (rodents, small birds, fish, frogs, lizards, caterpillars and cicadas). As soon as the potential food approaches the throwing distance, the snake attacks, grabbing it with its teeth, injecting poison and then devouring the whole thing. During the day, the rattlesnock relies on vision (the object must move), and at night precisely determines the size and distance to the victim with the help of receptors under the eyes. They help to distinguish the slightest temperature changes up to three thousandths of a degree.

Danger to humans

A rattlesnake bite is very dangerous for humans, but rarely comes to that. The snake first warns of its presence with a rattle on its tail, and if a person behaved incorrectly, that is, provoked it, then a throw follows. They are very shy, and the fear of a pit snake develops into aggression. Therefore, when you hear the noise of a rattle, you should freeze and slowly move away from the creature in the opposite direction from it.

If the snake has bitten, then it is necessary to call an ambulance, and raise the bitten limb up. In no case should you pinch the site of the bite with a tourniquet or try to suck out the poison. Her juice destroys the cells of the body. Anyone who sucks it runs the risk of swallowing toxic substances and dying from anaphylactic shock faster than the victim.

With population growth and a direct proportional decrease in reptile space, seasonal rattlesnake invasions are observed every year in the United States. But according to the statistics of the United States, 3-4 out of 8000 victims per year die.


So, muzzles, of which more than 10 species are known, belong to the family pit snakes (Crotalidae), numbering more than 160 species. All members of this family are poisonous. As you know, by the poisonous effect of snake venoms are divided into two groups. The first is formed by the poisons of aspid (to which the well-known cobras belong) and sea snakes. Their composition is dominated by neurotoxic enzymes that act paralyzing on the nervous system. The second group consists of poisons of viper and pit snakes, containing mainly enzymes that destroy tissue and coagulate blood. Pit snakes have many similarities with vipers; some taxonomists combine these snakes into one family (Viperidae).

The main difference between pit vipers and vipers is the presence of facial pits located between the nostrils and eyes, due to which, in fact, they got their name. Do not think that they are similar to dimples on the chubby cheeks of angels. These pits are “thermal eyes”. On top of each of the pits is covered with a very thin horny membrane (its thickness does not exceed 0.015 mm) penetrated by numerous branches of nerves, the ends of which respond to the slightest changes in temperature by nerve impulses. During the night hunt, the snake crawls, exploring the ground. It is important for her to find a warmer area against the background of the environment. At a distance of 15 cm from the sleeping mouse, the air temperature is only 0.003 ° C higher. This insignificant deviation of temperature is enough for the snake, thanks to it the snake determines the location of the victim in the most impenetrable darkness and is "aimed" at it like a missile at the target. She is alarmed, silently creeps up, and the fate of the victim is resolved.

Scientists have long been interested in the purpose of these pits. But only in 1937, two American herpetologists published the results of their research, when they were able to establish that the facial fossa is nothing more than a radar. Scientists experimented with snakes artificially devoid of all sensory organs known to science. They brought a light bulb wrapped in black paper to the snake. While the lamp was cold, the snake paid no attention to it. But if the light bulb was heating up, the snake immediately felt it. She raised her head, guarded. The light bulb was brought closer again, and the snake made a lightning-fast throw to bite a warm "victim".

Thermal locator pit snakes operate on the principle of a kind of thermocouple. The finest membrane separating the two chambers of the facial fossa is exposed to different temperatures on both sides. The inner chamber communicates with the external environment in a narrow channel. Therefore, the ambient temperature is maintained in the inner chamber. The outer chamber with its wide opening - heat trap is directed towards the object under study. The heat rays that it emits heat the front wall of the membrane. With a temperature difference on the inner and outer surfaces of the membrane, which are simultaneously perceived by nerves, a sensation arises in the brain of an object radiating thermal energy.

Shchitomordniki are the only representatives of this family in our fauna. The head of these snakes is covered from above with nine large shields that form a shield, for which they got their name. Once upon a time, all mollusks (more than 10 species are known) were included in 1 genus - Agkistrodonnow scientists have left only American representatives in it, and Asian species stand out in a separate genus - Gloydius. Shchitomordniki are medium-sized snakes, their body length with a tail does not exceed 80–90 cm. They feed on various vertebrates: rodents, birds, lizards, frogs. There are 4 species in Russia. Most widely distributed common muzzle (Gloydius halys), whose range extends from the Caspian Sea to Transbaikalia. It inhabits the most diverse biotopes: steppes, semi-deserts, forests, riverbanks and lakes. The muzzle bites are painful, but deaths (at least to me) are unknown.

Kuffs or spearhead snakes.

Pit snakes living in the tropics are much more dangerous for humans. In Vietnam, I had to meet quite often amazingly beautiful kufiy, or Asian spearhead snakes (genus Trimeresurus) Unlike the muzzle, the head of the keffiyeh is covered with small irregularly shaped shields. The shape of the head is sharply triangular, with a pointed muzzle, and the neck is sharply narrowed, so that the front of the body really resembles a spear. Among kufiyas, more than 40 species of which are widespread in tropical Asia, there are land inhabitants, as a rule, of larger sizes, and smaller arboreal ones, equipped with a grasping tail. Kufies are active day and night, many climb trees well. The main share in food is rodents, in addition, various birds, occasionally snakes and frogs. Young individuals feed mainly on lizards and frogs. The color of most Vietnamese species is emerald green; for hours they lie motionless on the branches of trees and shrubs, waiting for prey, and it is not easy to notice them in the thick stratum of vegetation.

One of the types of kufi - temple keffiyeh, now singled out in a separate genus (Tropidolaemus wagleri), got its name for the fact that the population inhabits the famous Snake Temple on the island of Penang, near the western coast of the Malay Peninsula. Hundreds of these snakes brought here by worshipers sit on walls and buildings, hang from tree branches and rest in sacrificial bowls. The temple keffiyeh is peaceful. Taking advantage of this, local residents bring snakes to their courtyard and plant them on tree branches near the house. They are confident that the presence of these snakes will provide family happiness.

But the most common pit snake in America, especially in its tropical part. American Spearhead Spears (genus Bothrops - the largest in the family - includes more than 60 species), like kufi, they are also characterized by a triangular, spear-like head, covered with small shields on top and separated from the body by a sharp cervical narrowing. One kind of American spearhead, zhararaka (Bothrops jararaca) - the most common snake in Brazil.Jararaca owns up to 90% of all snake bites in Brazil, mortality from which reaches 10%. The Butantan Nursery, located near São Paulo, is the largest snake. During a year, Butantan’s Zhararaki give up to 500 g of dry poison.

America’s largest venomous snake stands out in a separate genus - bushmeister (Lachesis muta), reaching a dip of 3.6 m. Unlike most pitheads, which are ovoviviparous, the Bushmaster lays eggs. Its laying consists of 10-20 eggs, and the female protects it. Bushmaster's poisonous glands are very large, with fangs reaching 2.5 cm in length. However, its poison is not very toxic.

Rattlesnakes or rattlesnakes.

But, of course, the most famous of the pit snakes is rattlesnakes. Representatives of two American clans - Crotalus (real rattlesnakes, they are known for more than 30 species, their head is covered on top with small shields, 2.4 m in length) and Sistrurus (dwarf rattlesnakes, 3 species — their head is covered with large shields of regular shape, reaching a length of up to 1 m), at the end of the tail there is a peculiar formation - a rattle, or rattle. For this rattle they are called rattlesnakes. A rattle is nothing more than a set of modified scales that have a cone-shaped shape, and are partially clad on each other so that the mobility of all segments is maintained. When the snake is frightened, it turns into rings and, raising the tip of the tail, begins to vibrate quickly with it. At the same time, the rattle segments, shaking, make a rather loud cracking sound that resembles the chirping of cicadas (and some compare it with the grinding of a fork along the bottom of the pan), audible from a distance of up to 30 m.

A kite is born with the embryo of a future rattle in the form of a large scale at the end of the tail (it is called pre-rattle), which is replaced during the first molt by the end rattle, the first segment of the tail rattle. The base of the second, strongly narrowed segment fits tightly into the gap in the center of the rattle. With each molt, a new element is added to the rattle in the same way. Every four months, new keratinized segments remaining on the tail after molting are added to the “musical aggregate”. Such regularity would seem to help to find out the age of the rattlesnake. Alas, an adult rattlesnake has no more than 15 segments on its tail. A valuable asset breaks off stones, is lost in battles. The richest rattle described in the literature totaled 23 segments.

Why does rattlesnake rattle? Since time immemorial, a rattle at the end of the tail has been of interest to man. She was credited with the role of bait and a deceptive device, distracting the victim's attention. However, the purpose of the rattle is to provide sound signals to prevent snakes from being trampled by large mammals. On hunting, the snake does not use a rattle, but “turns on the sound” only when a large animal or person approaches it. Thus, this is a warning signal: “Do not step on me!” There is no reason for a snake to spend poison on a defensive bite. Of course, this gentlemanly warning has no effect on people who are used to brandishing sticks. Another thing is animals. Mustangs, bison or cougars, who get acquainted with a dose of poison that will give them tangible pain, and miraculously survived, do not tend to repeat the sad experience and bounce away at the first sound signal. Another time, they will prefer to go around the snake as soon as they hear the rattle of its rattle.

The first rattlesnakes appeared in the second half of the Tertiary era. In the course of natural selection, individuals with the strongest poison and the loudest musical apparatus survived. This theory is confirmed by the existence of two island populations of rattlesnakes that lost the rattle, since there were no large mammals on these islands.

Rattlesnakes - the crown in the evolution of all poisonous snakes. The venomous apparatus reaches their greatest development, the strength of the poison is very high, the sensory organs are highly developed, and the reaction speed is exceptional. Although, when they say that a rattlesnake strikes with the speed of lightning, this is, of course, an exaggeration. The speed of its movements during the throw does not exceed the speed of the human fist upon impact.

According to the stories of immigrants to America, this land was once teeming with rattlesnakes. The Indians built a bed in the forest on pegs, and places for long parking because of snakes were pre-burned. But, of course, the real extermination of snakes began with the arrival of a white man in America. At the beginning of the 19th century, two hunters stocking up healing fat killed 1104 rattlesnakes in three days. The snakes were exterminated and simply because of fear and hostility, out of fears for cattle. It is curious that in this case, domestic pigs came to the aid of the colonists. Sows brought from Europe, unlike horses and cows, were not afraid of rattlesnakes at all, boldly attacked them and devoured them with pleasure. Perhaps a layer of fat and bristles protected pigs from poison. The invulnerability of pigs was quickly noticed. And before settling in a favorite place, the colonist let the herd of pigs into the area. Thanks to the efforts of many generations, rattlesnakes are now very rare. After spending three weeks on the expanses of California, I never found a single one during this time.

The Indians, however, respected rattlesnakes, for example, in the Sioux tribe (Sioux is the last syllable of the nickname given to the tribe, Nadovesiu means the rattlesnake). The snake was a symbol of freedom among the Indians. It is not surprising that rattlesnakes occupied a leading place in American heraldry. When pensioners from the John Proctor Independent Battalion (Westmoreland County) fought with the British, on their banners along with the motto: "Do not touch us!" Was depicted a rattlesnake curled up in a ring. And the first sea flag depicted a rattlesnake extending diagonally from the lower right to the upper left corner and crossing 13 red and white stripes - according to the number of colonies. One of the first U.S. Marine Corps went on its first offensive with drums on which rattlesnakes were painted. At one time, they even intended to make her a symbol of the young United States. An ardent champion of this sign in the arms of the country was Benjamin Franklin.

According to the stories of a famous connoisseur of snakes F.F. Talyzina, a rattlesnake is considered a sacred animal among the Indians of Mexico. She is the mediator between the deity and the Indians. For a long time, with drought and crop failure, Indians have performed a snake dance. While dancing, they wave the snakes like whips, hold them in the teeth (having previously torn out the poisonous teeth), throw them to the ground, as if forcing them to start negotiations with the deity. A crowd of worshipers sings and asks God to send rain to the earth for harvest. This dance with snakes is an echo of the ancient cult of snakes, widespread among the Indians of North and South America.

Despite the fact that rattlesnakes are equipped with awesome weapons, they themselves are victims of numerous predators. One of the enemies of rattlesnakes is the earthen cuckoo. When these two animals collide, the snake curls up into a ball, and the earthen cuckoo is wary, preparing for a retaliatory strike. As soon as the snake rushes into battle, the bird quickly jumps and dodges it, and then flies itself, hitting the head of the snake with its beak, sharp as a rapier. After several such blows, the snake, as a rule, already lies dead at the feet of the winner. The bird first swallows the head of the snake, but at once it can completely swallow only a small reptile. And if the snake is larger than the bird’s stomach can accommodate, the earthen cuckoo eats only part of it, and then runs for several hours with the snake's body hanging from its beak. Only by digesting the first portion and making room for the next, does it swallow the rest.

It is with pleasure that a rattlesnake and a man eats. Today, rattlesnake meat in some places in North America is considered a gourmet dish. In some states in the spring, when rattlesnakes creep out in the sun, they are hunted together. The round-up ends with a holiday with distribution of prizes for the best specimens, and the caught snakes are fried and served for a snack.

The author is Vladimir Bobrov, candidate of biological sciences. Source: Journal In the World of Animals, 2006, No. 6.

The appearance of the snake

Pit snakes differ in size (from 0.5 m to 3.5 m) and in color, which are usually polychrome in nature. Scales can be painted in almost all colors of the rainbow - white, black, steel, beige, emerald, reddish pink, brown, yellow and more. These reptiles are rarely monophonic, not afraid to show intricate patterns and catchy colors.

The main background often looks like an interweaving of thick stripes, stains or rhombs. Sometimes, as is the case with the Celebes keffiyeh, the predominant color (bright green) is only slightly diluted with thin white and blue stripes.

The rattlesnakes are related by a wedge-shaped head, two elongated fangs (along which the poison passes) and a tail rattle of annular keratinization.

Important! Not all reptiles are equipped with rattles - they are absent, for example, in moths, as well as in the Catalan rattlesnake living on about. Santa Catalina (Gulf of California).

The tail rattle is needed by the snake to scare away enemies, and its growth continues throughout life. A thickening at the end of the tail appears after the first molt. At the next molt, fragments of old skin cling to this outgrowth, leading to the formation of a relief ratchet.

When moving, the rings are lost, but most remain to serve as an instrument of intimidation / warning of the enemy. The vibration of the tail raised to the top, crowned by a rattle, indicates that the reptile is nervous and you better get out of its way.

According to Nikolai Drozdov, the sound of vibrating rings is similar to the crackle produced by a narrow-film film projector, and is heard at a distance of up to 30 meters.

Snakes, which without discounts can be attributed to rattlesnakes of the 2nd kind. These are real rattlesnakes (system name: Crotalus) and dwarf rattlesnakes (system name: Sistrurus). Both of these genera are part of the pit subfamily (system name: Crotalinae). Relatives of real and dwarf rattlesnakes are such well-known reptiles as shchitomordniki, spear-headed snakes, bushmasters, temple kufiy. 36 species are included in the genus of real rattlesnakes. The most notable of them:

  • Rhombic rattlesnake. It is found in the USA, in Florida. The snake is large, up to 2.4 m in length. It produces from 7 to 28 cubs about 25 cm in size.

  • Texas rattlesnake. It is found in Mexico, the United States and southern Canada. The length of the snake reaches 2.5 m, weight 7 kg.
  • Monstrous rattlesnake. The name was due to its large size. The length reaches 2 meters. It is found in the west of Mexico.
  • The horned rattlesnake got its name due to skin folds above the eyes that look like horns and are used to protect the eyes from sand. One of the smallest rattlesnakes. Its length is from 50 to 80 cm. This rattlesnake in the photo often shows its “horns”.
  • A terrible rattlesnake, in Spanish-speaking countries called Cascavela. Inhabits South America. The bite of a rattlesnake is terrible, as is its name. It can lead to serious consequences if you do not provide medical assistance on time.
  • Striped rattlesnake. It lives mainly in the eastern United States. A dangerous snake whose poison can be fatal.

  • Small-headed rattlesnake. Distributed in central and southern Mexico. The snake is small in size. Length no more than 60 cm.
  • Rocky rattlesnake. It lives in the south of the USA and in Mexico. The length reaches 70–80 cm. The poison is strong, but the snake is not aggressive, so there are few victims of bites.
  • Mitchell's rattlesnake. Named after a doctor who studied snake venom in the 19th century. It is found in the USA and Mexico. An adult reaches 1 meter.
  • Black-tailed rattlesnake. It lives in the central part of Mexico and the USA. The name corresponds to the main external attribute: the tail of a rattlesnake is black. Reptiles of medium size. Does not exceed 1 meter in length. He lives a long time. Reported case of reaching 20 years of age.
  • Mexican rattlesnake. Lives in central Mexico. The usual size of snakes is 65-68 cm. It has a bright, distinct from other rattlesnakes, pattern.
  • Arizona rattlesnake. Resident of Mexico and the USA. The snake is small. Length is up to 65 cm.

  • Red rattlesnake. Inhabits Mexico and Southern California. Its length can reach up to 1.5 meters. The poison is potent. But the snake is not aggressive. There are few accidents involving her. G
  • Steineger's kite snake. It is named after the famous herpetologist Leonard Steinger, who worked in the Norwegian Royal University in the 19th and 20th centuries. The snake is found in the mountains of western Mexico. Very rare species. It grows to 58 cm. It is distinguished by an inaudible rattle.
  • Tiger Rattlesnake. Lives in Arizona and in the Mexican state of Sonora. It reaches a length of 70-80 cm. The venom of this reptile is considered one of the most effective among rattlesnakes.
  • Striated rattlesnake. A rare species that lives in central Mexico. Perhaps the smallest representative of real rattlesnakes. The length does not exceed 0.5 m.
  • Green Rattlesnake. The name reflects the gray-green color of the reptile. Lives in the desert and mountainous regions of Canada, the USA and Mexico. Reaches 1.5 meters in length.
  • Willard-crested or rattlesnake. Arizona residents have made this snake a symbol of the state. It is found in the USA and northern states of Mexico. It grows to 65 cm.

Only two species are included in the genus of dwarf rattlesnakes:

  • Massasauga or chain rattlesnake. It lives, like most related species, in Mexico, the USA, and southern Canada. Does not exceed 80 cm in length.
  • Millet pygmy rattlesnake. Lives in southeast North America. In length does not exceed 60 cm.

Rattlesnake habitats

Representatives of pithead live from the humid jungle and high mountains to deserts, there are even aquatic species. Some snakes live on the earth, others on trees, some climb to a height of more than 1 km. above sea level.

If you do not take into account some species that are active around the clock, the snakes of this subfamily prefer to lead a nocturnal lifestyle in order to avoid sun and heat burns and go hunting when most of their victims are active. In the daytime, pitheads prefer to hide in the mink of rodents or under stones. To find the most optimal place to relax, the snakes again use their heat-sensitive dimples.

The main food for pitheads are small vertebrate mammals. These snakes usually patiently wait in ambush until an unsuspecting victim comes closer. And individuals of the Chinese tree species annually, when the birds migrate, return to a certain place in which he always has an ambush. According to research, these snakes are constantly improving their ability to attack.

Rattlesnakes choose such places for wintering, where they will be comfortable with everyone together to bask together when everyone hibernates. When the cold season comes. Rattlesnakes try to use all opportunities to bask in the sun, so do pregnant females. Some types of snakes, for example, moccasin, do not come together.

Like other snakes, rattlesnakes attack a person only when they are cornered, or are in real danger. The larger the snake, the easier it is to defend itself. The rattlesnake population is declining due to pollution and deforestation in the tropics. Also, a person contributes to a decrease in the number of snakes of this species, hunting them because of the skin. Many snakes also perish under the wheels of cars.

What does the rattlesnake eat?

Rattlesnakes living in captivity for a long time refuse to eat. There are cases when snakes starved for more than a year and did not even pay attention to rats and mice running alongside.In vivo, she eats once a week, eating food weighing half her own weight. Consumes small mammals, amphibians and birds. Hunts them at night, attacking from an ambush.

Quite often, rattlesnakes themselves become food for mammals, birds, and even fish. Ferrets, martens, weasels, eagles, peacocks, crows eat snakes, as their poison acts very weakly on them. There was also information in the media that a Californian fisherman caught trout with a rattlesnake 60 cm long in its stomach.

Domestic pigs are also not afraid of rattlesnake bites. A thick layer of subcutaneous fat protects the blood vessels, and snake venom cannot enter the bloodstream. And the pigs themselves also do not mind eating a rattlesnake. This feature is used by farmers and released a herd of pigs on the field before plowing it.

Is a bite dangerous: human exposure to poison

A rattlesnake bite is considered extremely dangerous to humans. It is difficult to predict how the poison will affect a particular person, since the result is influenced by many factors, starting from the place of the bite (the closer to the brain, the more dangerous) and ending with the psychophysical state of the victim.

Toxin entering the bloodstream can lead to anaphylactic shock, kidney failure, shortness of breath, internal hemorrhage and death. Only in the USA, 10 to 15 people die on average per year (the prevalence of antidote in those states where rattlesnakes live should be taken into account).

Among the common mistakes in first aid is an attempt to disinfect the wound with alcohol, which actually gives the opposite effect. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, and the poison is absorbed faster. Amputation of a bitten limb may also fail.

Important! The real treatment is only the administration of serum from snake venom.

  1. When biting, you must perform the following steps:
  2. First of all, the affected person should be removed away from the attack site to prevent subsequent bites.
  3. Call an ambulance or go to a medical center where you can provide assistance.
  4. The victim of the bite should perform movements as little as possible, since this increases the body temperature, which will only aggravate the situation.
  5. Remove any jewelry or clothing that may tighten the limbs.
  6. Rinse the wound with water.
  7. The bite area is best kept below the level of the heart.
  8. If available, administer the anti-snake serum yourself.