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About ... A rattlesnake gets a new button or rattle on its tails each time it sheds its skin but we can't tell a rattlers' age by the number of buttons it has. They make the rattling sound because the different segments of the rattle bang together. The contraction of special "shaker" muscles in the tail causes these segments to vibrate against one another, making the rattling noise (which is amplified because the segments are hollow) in a behavior known as tail vibration. The small proportion (often as few as 20%) of rattlesnakes that make it to their second year are heavily preyed upon by a variety of larger predators including coyotes, eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, feral pigs, badgers, indigo snakes, and kingsnakes. When ingesting large prey, these creases can unfold, allowing the skin to expand to envelop a much greater volume. The rattlesnake is a kind of snake, a reptile.About 50 kinds of rattlesnakes are known. The skin of rattlesnakes is intricately patterned in a manner that camouflages them from their predators. ), instead relying on subtle earth tones that resemble the surrounding environment. A lack of burning pain and edema 3⁄8 in (1 cm) away from the fang marks after one hour suggests either no or minimal envenomation occurred. The muscles that cause the rattle to shake are some of the fastest known, firing 50 times per second on average, sustained for up to three hours. Non-rattling snakes are more likely to go unnoticed, so survive to reproduce offspring that, like themselves, are less likely to rattle. Local pain following envenomation is often intense, increasing with the ensuing edema. The first step in the production of crotaline antivenin is collecting ("milking") the venom of a live rattlesnake—usually from the western diamondback (Crotalus atrox), eastern diamondback (Crotalus adamanteus), South American rattlesnake (Crotalus durissis terrificus), or fer-de-lance (Bothrops atrox). Rattlesnakes generally take several years to mature, and females usually reproduce only once every three years. ), they submerge their heads and ingest water by opening and closing their jaws, which sucks in water. An important function of the skin is the sensation of changes in air temperature, which can guide the snakes towards warm basking/shelter locations. Rattlesnakes use their tongue, which is forked, a lot like a bloodhound uses its nose. If antivenom treatment is given within two hours of the bite, the probability of recovery is greater than 99%. Neonates of the smaller crotaline species are frequently killed and eaten by small predatory birds such as jays, kingfishers, and shrikes.
Because antivenin is derived from animal antibodies, people generally display an allergic response during infusion, known as serum sickness. The name Sistrurus is the Latinized form of the Greek word for "tail rattler" (Σείστρουρος, seistrouros) and shares its root with the ancient Egyptian musical instrument the sistrum, a type of rattle.
Rattlesnakes are predators that live in a wide array of habitats, hunting small animals such as birds and rodents. Feeding habits play an important ecological role by limiting the size of rodent populations, which prevents crop damage and stabilizes ecosystems.
Rattlesnakes travel with their rattles held up to protect them from damage, but in spite of this precaution, their day-to-day activities in the wild still cause them to regularly break off end segments. The rattlesnake’s fangs inject venom into its prey when it strikes at a speed of about five-tenths of a second! However, rattlesnakes rarely bite unless provoked or threatened; if treated promptly, the bites are seldom fatal. Although many kinds of snakes and other reptiles are oviparous (lay eggs), rattlesnakes are ovoviviparous (give birth to live young after carrying eggs inside). Rattlesnakes are some of the most fear snakes that are in the Americas. Stone sculptures of feathered serpents on display at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, Snake handling at the Pentecostal Church of God in the town of Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky September 15, 1946. Functioning optically like a pinhole camera eye, thermal radiation in the form of infrared light passes through the opening of the pit and strikes the pit membrane located in the back wall, warming this part of the organ. If you are in rattlesnake territory, then just watch where you step as you walk and you’ll avoid most encounters with these venomous snakes. Rattlesnakes are native to the Americas, living in diverse habitats from southwestern Canada to central Argentina. If you see a small snake with a diamond pattern on it, then stay away from it and don’t try to poke it or pick it up! The gastric fluids of rattlesnakes are extremely powerful, allowing for the digestion of flesh, as well as bone.
Rattlesnakes have an exceptionally keen sense of smell. Rattlesnakes are the leading contributor to snakebite injuries in North America. At birth, a “prebutton” is present at the tip of the snake's tail; it is replaced by the “button” several days later when the first skin is shed.
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