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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.
The South American rattlesnake is a snake.
The C. durissus belongs to the reptile class.
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.
The Crotalus durrisus lives in the southwestern part of America like Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, and even some parts of Southern Canada.
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.
The Crotalus durissus is declared as solitary which means that they live and hunt on their own.
The typical shelf life of this neotropical rattlesnake is 10-25 years.
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.
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.
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.
The cascabel of Brazil cannot be labeled cute.
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.
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).
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.
This neotropical rattlesnake of South America weighs a solid 3-6 lb (1.2-2.7 kg).
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.
A baby South American rattlesnake is called a snakelet.
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.
This snake is not of a species that can be tamed.
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.
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.
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.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable rattlesnake coloring pages.
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