Rattlesnake Rattle: Should You Be Cautious If You Hear Them? | Kidadl


Rattlesnake Rattle: Should You Be Cautious If You Hear Them?

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We should be scared of snakes, but remember that they are also a part of nature like we are.

Snakes are elongated carnivorous reptiles and they are covered in overlapping scales. Snakes are cold-blooded creatures and they have to maintain their body temperature externally.

There are around 3,000 species of snakes all around our planet Earth. The two types of snakes are venomous snakes and non-venomous snakes. Venomous snake bites can be fatal to an extent; non-venomous snakes are of no danger. There are 600 species of venomous snakes out of which 200 of them can be fatal. No snake will bite you purposely unless it is afraid of danger. Sometimes we can’t know where snakes are hiding. Don’t you want to know what snake that is? Rattlesnakes. They hiss us away from danger. These reptiles have a rattle at the end of their tail which vibrates in fear when somebody approaches. It is also used to distract prey. Even if rattlesnakes are venomous snakes they drive us away with the rattle they have.

After understanding the anatomy of the snake's tail and what the importance is of rattlesnake rattles, also read about do rattlesnakes lay eggs and do corn snakes bite.

Are rattlesnake rattles sold for commercial purposes?

Rattlesnakes are a species of wild venomous snakes with a length of 1-8 ft (30.4 to 244 cm) depending on the species. They are American natives but are also found in diverse habitats like southwestern Canada and central Argentina.

There are about 36 rattlesnake species. The most common interesting feature is the rattle. A few species include the eastern diamondback, the western diamondback, the sidewinder, and the speckled. The rattle is a hollow bony part made up of keratin and it is present at the tip of the tail of rattlesnakes. Rattles produce a buzzing sound to warn you to back off and escape. Snakes also use other defense mechanisms like coiling their bodies and raising their heads. There are no records of the rattlesnake rattle being sold for commercial purposes but the rattlesnake itself is hunted in various places like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, New Mexico, and Oklahoma during hunting seasons.

All rattlesnakes are venomous. A rattlesnake's favorite food includes rodents, squirrels, and rabbits. Rattlesnakes are preyed upon by various animals like cats, ravens, crows, raccoons, and kingsnakes. They hibernate during winter. They come out of hibernation around spring to eat and mate. Spring is their mating season. Rattle eggs are kept safe inside the mother until they hatch. Juvenile rattlesnakes don't have a rattle so they are more dangerous and aggressive than adults. Beware of baby rattlesnakes. Older snakes give us a warning to run with their rattling sound.

Rattlesnakes can thrive in various environments like deserts, grasslands, and wild rocky hills. They are also seen in swamp lands of the southeastern United States. But rattlesnakes are most abundant in desert lands. A rattlesnake rattle is interpreted as a sign of warning by residents and travelers in their habitat.

Are rattlesnakes born with a rattle?

Rattlesnakes are not born with a rattle. Instead, they will have a small scale, called a button, at the tip of the tail which gradually grows into a rattle. How, you may wonder? The rattle is arranged in layers, so each time the snake sheds its skin a layer gets added to the button and becomes a rattle gradually. The layer sheds off with age or breaks off.

Rattlesnakes have a rattle, but they don't have ears and can’t hear anything. They detect movements and nearby vibrations in the ground. But their eyes are so sharp that they have vision even in low light. Another special characteristic of these snakes is that they have a sensory organ called a pit in between their eyes and nostril. The pit helps them to sense prey in darkness by sensing body heat. Rattlesnakes are therefore pit vipers.

Rattlesnakes are ambush predators so they like to keep a low profile. They are usually hidden somewhere so chances are high that you may hurt them accidentally and unknowingly, which is when rattlesnakes may feel the need to bite you. This happens rarely because most times people are driven away by the buzzing sound of a snake's rattle.

Rattlesnakes are dangerous predators with a potent venom.

What is a rattle made of?

The rattlesnake's rattle is made of keratin. Did you know keratin is the same thing that our fingernails are made of? Interesting, right?

Keratin, which is a kind of protective protein, does not get scratched or torn easily. The rattling sound comes when each layer of the rattle knocks upon each other. These rattle layers are loosely chained together and are jiggly to make a sound. The rattle is hollow inside and the sound bounces in each layer and produces a vibration-like buzzing sound.

These rattles have three powerful muscles which can contract and relax so fast, making them rattle up to 90 times in a second. The rattling can go non-stop for almost two hours. It is one of the fastest muscular contractions alive in nature. The rattle sound frequency varies from about 489 hertz to 24,380 hertz. When there is no need for the rattle sound it is kept upright to avoid vibration.

With this amazing rattle to keep us safe, it’s actually unfair to give this snake such a scary face. Rattlesnakes don't want to bite us. That’s why this snake rattles as a warning sign.

How do you preserve a rattlesnake rattle?

It is easy to preserve a rattlesnake rattle by following a few steps.

First of all, if you find a rattle, remove all the meat content that is stuck in there. Then dry it completely by placing it in a warm spot. Your rattlesnake rattle is all ready to be preserved. You should handle the rattle carefully so it doesn't break since it is so brittle. Some people apply all-purpose oil to it to prevent breaking.

What do you do if a rattlesnake rattles at you?

If a rattlesnake rattles at you the only thing you should do is move away slowly! The rattling sound is a warning for you to get away so it won't bite you.

Rattlesnake venom is rarely fatal to humans; with proper medication it can be cured. Symptoms include swelling, tingling, vomiting, nausea, hemorrhaging, and, rarely, heart failure. An antivenom or antivenin can help you to get rid of the rattlesnake venom.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for rattlesnake rattle then take a look at what do snakes eat or what do garden snakes eat.

Kidadl Team
Written By
Kidadl Team

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