Fun South American Rattlesnake Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Aug 31, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Shray Sharma
Fun South American rattlesnake facts for kids.

In the desert region of South America and Mexico, there lies some of the most deadly species known to mankind ever. Don't be afraid, they cannot hurt you through paper, but let's venture together into the world of neotropical rattlesnakes.

Unlike the snakes of North America, the rattlesnake species are fast and deadly.

The Crotalus durissus terrificus is called by many names - tropical rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus, and cascavel or cascabel, as it is called in Brazil.

The C. durissus is a neotropical rattlesnake, appearing as dangerous as it is. The Crotalus durissus has a robust appearance - long and tall with diamond patterns extending from its head to its back, standing at a length of approximately 3.2 ft (1 m).

The cascavel rattlesnake usually hunts during the evening or night, its dullish-green body color helping it stay hidden. The pits of these pit vipers perform similarly to how sound waves act for a bat - these pits use the heat waves to accurately locate prey.

If you would like to explore more about the world and history of rattlesnakes, go ahead and read the interesting facts about other rattlesnake subspecies too such as the ring-necked snake and the timber rattlesnake.

South American Rattlesnake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a South American rattlesnake?

The South American rattlesnake is a snake.

What class of animal does a South American rattlesnake belong to?

The C. durissus belongs to the reptile class.

How many South American rattlesnakes are there in the world?

There is no solid count for this rattlesnake but since they are in the Least Concern status according to the IUCN, there should be more than thousands.

Where does a South American rattlesnake live?

The Crotalus durrisus lives in the southwestern part of America like Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, and even some parts of Southern Canada.

What is a South American rattlesnake's habitat?

The neotropical rattlesnake is mostly found in the extreme conditions of tropical regions with a dry and hot climate. This rattlesnake is known to be highly territorial so even within its habitat, if it decided to migrate due to water floods or rains, its habits would make it come back to the place where it had originally started from.

Who do South American rattlesnakes live with?

The Crotalus durissus is declared as solitary which means that they live and hunt on their own.

How long does a South American rattlesnake live?

The typical shelf life of this neotropical rattlesnake is 10-25 years.

How do they reproduce?

The Crotalus durissus terrificus have a certain period for reproduction. The mating season for this species is from April-June.

The female neotropical rattlesnake lays eggs to give birth to the young in a process known as ovoviviparous reproduction. This happens usually after five months of the mating period. An interesting fact to know, in this case, is that not all females of this rattlesnake from South America can breed.

What is their conservation status?

The cascavel is not, by any shot, endangered or threatened but comparing the numbers in history, they have decreased and continue to lessen, especially in Brazil. As mentioned earlier, the habitat of the South American rattlesnake species is being used up for the development of the human populations causing people to immediately kill the cascabel on seeing them.  

South American Rattlesnake Fun Facts

What do South American rattlesnakes look like?

The physical characteristics of the South American rattlesnake are not so distinguishable in the desert background since they are available in various colors and patterning, blending in with the desert. They have a commanding presence with their widely structured body and a whole length of 4.9 ft (1.5 m).

If you inspect them from the head, you will find a bar-shaped patch colored dark brown. The distribution of patterns is all over their body, especially the upper back, usually in the shape of diamonds making it a subspecies of the diamondback rattlesnakes.

Their bellies remain of a lighter tone, usually white or a similar color.

The only difference between the male and female adult neotropical rattlesnake is that males are slightly wider. As they grow old, the dorsal ridges tend to get more elevated.

South American RattlesnakeS can be found in deserts like this

How cute are they?

The cascabel of Brazil cannot be labeled cute.

How do they communicate?

A big warning bell attached to this snake is its rattle.

While it is still not clear as to how they communicate with each other, the rattle (a series of muscular contractions sounding like a rattle, the size of which increases after the snake sheds its skin) is a sound that should act as a warning that a rattlesnake is nearby.

How big is a South American rattlesnake?

The neotropical rattlesnake is 4.9 ft (1.5 m) in length. It is only 2 ft (0.6 m) less than the size of the eastern diamondback snake, the largest in the rattlesnake family with its average size going to 8 ft (2.4 m).

How fast can a South American rattlesnake move?

Being of the pit viper subspecies, the neotropical rattlesnake attacks very fast. However, naturally, the South American rattlesnake's aggressive level tends to zero unless it feels threatened or attacked in which case animals would not be able to outrun the cascavel.

How much does a South American rattlesnake weigh?

This neotropical rattlesnake of South America weighs a solid 3-6 lb (1.2-2.7 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

As of yet, there has been no separate articulated name for the male and female of this species. This genus also does not exhibit any particular difference in the bodies of the males and females, making the genders indistinguishable.

What would you call a baby South American rattlesnake?

A baby South American rattlesnake is called a snakelet.

What do they eat?

The prey of this snake mostly consists of small mammals like rodents, insects, and other newborn snakes (very rare). The predators of the South American rattlesnake are hawks and coral snakes.

Are they poisonous?

The venom of this snake is the most poisonous among the rattlesnake species. The snake venom is neurotoxic as well as damages the tissues, with the toxins affecting the functioning of the brain.

One snake bite has caused several deaths and the symptoms could be blindness or impaired vision, damage to the skeletal and heart muscles as well as paralysis. The treatment for the venom could prove ineffective depending on various factors like how much poison has gone inside, the immunity of the person, and others.

Would they make a good pet?

This snake is not of a species that can be tamed.

Did you know...

Did you know that South American rattlesnakes have specialized tools in their body as gifts of their evolution, to help them satisfy their diet of the week? They have many heat-sensitive pit organs under their eyes.

The pit picks up on heat waves telling the snake how far its prey is. When their food is near, the pit as well as their Jacobson's organs in the tongue lets them know.

Why are South American rattlesnakes dangerous?

South American rattlesnakes have the most venom among the rattlesnakes. The venom affects the nervous system of the prey as well as the tissues resulting in death. However, the use of venoms has not only been in finding the treatment for the poison. Native American tribes would use the venom to spike their arrows.

Where do rattlesnakes live in South America?

Rattlesnakes are located everywhere in America but the deadliest ones falling under the category of pit vipers are spread throughout the arid deserts of Central and South America like Argentina, Venezuela, São Paulo in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, and Bolivia.

Learn more about some other reptiles from our prairie rattlesnake facts or western diamondback rattlesnake facts page.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable rattlesnake coloring pages.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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Fact-checked by Shray Sharma

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

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Shray SharmaBachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

As an aspiring web and app developer, Shray has a passion for working with promising startups. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Maharaja Surajmal Institute Of Technology while gaining experience in digital marketing. Shray has already earned a Google Analytics Certification and is well-equipped to handle analytics and data management tasks. He has also served as a marketing manager at Parallax Virtual Arts, where he oversaw the company's social media, content, and SEO strategies. Shray's goal is to create engaging content that resonates with audiences and offers valuable insights.

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