Rattle snakes are venomous snakes belonging to the family Crotalinae. Mating has been observed in the month of spring only. They are viviparous and give birth straight to young ones. No egg laying has been listed so far. Young ones when grown are independent and do not need the support of mother for carrying out their usual activities. So, the mother leaves the young shortly after their arrival. They aren’t deaf. They have well developed internal ears much like that of other reptiles. External ears are absent. Sound travels towards inner ears throughout the vibrations picked up by body organs.
They are natives of America. Arizona has the largest population of these snakes compared to other states. Four species have been recorded from Mississippi river and just 2 from South America. They prey upon mice, rats, small birds and other small animals. They paralyze or kill the prey by their venom and then the prey is swallowed by constriction. Venom of rattle snake can cause death within 20 seconds. After injecting venom into the body of the prey rattle snake lets the prey to run and then follows it and when it dies it’s consumed. They are known to strike at distances up to two-thirds of their body length.
Many species are oviparous but they’re either viviparous or ovoviviparous. No parental care has been seen in them. They are named rattle snakes due to the existence of a characteristic structure rattle. Rattle is made up of a set of nested, hollow beads that are actually epidermal scales present at the tip of the tail. Skin may be shed many times in a year depending on the food supply and growth speed. The young ones lack functional rattles but after they shed their skin it becomes practical. Rattle produces a rattling sound. They’re known to absorb great deal of water from wet weather and no sound is generated.
Different species differ in their land, identification and markers. It usually avoids encountering with humans. But if triggered it bites them. Hikers are always advised to wear pants and boots while exploring the regions where rattle snakes are expected to exist. They have functional fangs for injecting venom into victim’s body. They can also regulate the quantity of venom injected. Young ones are also dangerous. Venom is haemotoxic effective at destroying cells, degenerating organs and causing coagulopathy. It’s been observed that approximately 7,000-8,000 people are bitten by poisonous snakes in United States every year of that rattle snakes account for 72%. The tropical species contain neurotoxic venom which affects the nervous system. Anti-venom may be used to encounter the venom injected with these snakes.
They are a popular delicacy in southeastern and southwestern America.