If Anyone Has Questions or Concerns About Rattlesnakes

Tom

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I saw a news story maybe 20 years ago that A rattlesnake in the lab at Colorado State University changed sexes. The professor said that sometimes they do that in extreme situations. Has anybody else heard of this? I have also heard that sometimes animals can have offspring without the male's help.
I've not ever heard of a snake changing sexes. There are several fish species that can do this. And some snails are both sexes at the same time.

Having offspring with no males is called parthenogenesis. I know of at least one lizard species that does this regularly.
 

mike taylor

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I had heard of them holding sperm but not changing sexes .
 

leigti

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I had heard of them holding sperm but not changing sexes .
I can't remember how old The snake was but they said it had never been with another snake. It was several years old I just can't remember the exact number.
As a kid I had a pet snake once. It was one of those little baby gardner? Snakes. My friend and I found a bunch of them in the field. So we each took one home. It's name was squiggles. Three hours later my mom got home from work and said "Hell no" so I, and my friend because his mom wasn't happy either, took the snakes back where we found them. 35 years later I got my next reptile, a Russian tortoise :) I do think that many snakes are pretty. But I will stick with tortoises.
 

Tom

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I can't remember how old The snake was but they said it had never been with another snake. It was several years old I just can't remember the exact number.
As a kid I had a pet snake once. It was one of those little baby gardner? Snakes. My friend and I found a bunch of them in the field. So we each took one home. It's name was squiggles. Three hours later my mom got home from work and said "Hell no" so I, and my friend because his mom wasn't happy either, took the snakes back where we found them. 35 years later I got my next reptile, a Russian tortoise :) I do think that many snakes are pretty. But I will stick with tortoises.
What? You don't want a pet rattlesnake in the living room? Why not? :p
 

Team Gomberg

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I took in an albino corn snake once. He rattled his tail, too. I used many corn snakes, red tail boas, lots of balls and a large albino Burmese but this tiny, rattling, corn just freaked me out! Since the snakes were used in my ed programs with the kids, I stuck with the non rattling snakes LOL

I had a guy come present rattle snake info at a CTTC meeting once. He brought 2 with him. That's the only time I've really seen them.
 

ascott

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I have a couple questions:
How are there so many left when so many people have been killing them on sight for two hundred years?

Have you seen the ones that don't rattle anymore? Evolution at work…



I also handle rattle snakes for work on a regular basis. We have mostly Southern Pacifics down here. In some geographical pockets they are HIGHLY aggressive. Aggressive to the point of intentionally chasing people and literally launching themselves in the air to strike. I had never seen anything like it, and would not have believed it had I not seen it myself.
Mojave Greens will chase after you for what seems like a couple blocks....sure are beautiful though....:D
 

mike taylor

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We have coach whip snakes here in Texas that will charge you . It's fun to catch them . They make grown men run like girls . ha-ha
 

W Shaw

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I have a couple questions:
How are there so many left when so many people have been killing them on sight for two hundred years?

Have you seen the ones that don't rattle anymore? Evolution at work…



I also handle rattle snakes for work on a regular basis. We have mostly Southern Pacifics down here. In some geographical pockets they are HIGHLY aggressive. Aggressive to the point of intentionally chasing people and literally launching themselves in the air to strike. I had never seen anything like it, and would not have believed it had I not seen it myself.

Sadly, human depredation continues to be a problem. One of the studies my mentor did recently shows that females in areas of human interface are reaching reproductive maturity as much as 3 years earlier than females on more remote dens. There's a lot of ignorance out there. One of the useful things about the road rescue work I do is that it provides a good opportunity for public education. People often stop out of curiosity or out of concern for people haphazardly parked and out of the car in the wee hours. Many of them are afraid of rattlesnakes, but I'll always say, "We're just moving this little guy off the road so he doesn't get hit. Would you like to see him before I release him?" They usually say yes, and I can then let them have a nice close look and they always have a lot of questions. I've often learned later that these encounters have changed people's views to the point where they not only avoid injuring them on the road, but actually move them off, or stop friends from killing them.

As for ones who don't rattle, yeah, like you said, evolution at work. Although there has always been considerable variation in individual personality. I've met some who start freaking out when I'm still 6 feet away, and some I can have a camera inches from their face for a half hour photo session and get no response beyond an occasional lazy tongue flick.

I've heard helleri is a little more reactive than oreganus. Never heard of them chasing anyone, but a year ago, I'd have said NO snake would chase a human. Then this summer, my rescue partner approached a large gopher snake to move him off a road, and he threw himself at her so hard that he landed on his back. She took a step back to let him calm down, and he just kept throwing himself at her. Eventually, she just gave up and picked him up. He bit her five or six times on the way to being released. It was such bizarre behavior. Our only theory was that the snake had been grabbed and dropped by a predator or straddled by a vehicle almost immediately before we approached him.
 

W Shaw

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I have read a couple articles showing how rapidly they can evolve. Behaviorally and physically. Some ground squirrels are developing resistance to rattlesnake venom and the snakes venom properties are changing to counter the squirrel adaptions.
That's true... they've even found a higher ratio of neurotoxins in SOME helleri individuals.
 

W Shaw

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I am a girl so I can be totally justified running like crazy away from a snake :) I have nothing to prove.
I'm a girl too. I pick them up off roads and move them to safety. I think it's hilarious that so many guys who think it's macho to stand back 6 feet and shoot one are scared to sit in a car and have me carry a tiny little neonate to within a couple of feet so they can look at him.:p The women who stop usually WANT to see them, and think it's cool that we're moving them off the road.
 

W Shaw

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Our gopher snakes will do that too. I LOVE the gopher snakes.
Gophies are sweet. Except the big old females who decide to musk their rescuers with that godawful rotten parmesan cheese musk. What's with that anyhow! The boys don't smell that bad.
 

W Shaw

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Some of them don't rattle anymore??? I'm never going hiking again. :-(
You'll be grand. They'll get out of your way. Think of it this way... Have you ever gotten a candy bar from a vending machine? Were you terrified? More people are killed and injured by vending machines falling over on them in a year than by rattlesnakes over 20 years.

Also... there was a great demographic study in the pacific NW. Turns out 99.9 % of bites occur to young adult males. And 88 point something (don't have it in front of me) of the bites recorded, the victim had a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit for driving at the time the bite occurred. So... don't get drunk and show off to your buddies how you can poke a rattlesnake and make him buzz, and you're pretty unlikely to be bitten.:D
 

W Shaw

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I had a co-worker tell me a rattler struck at him in his shed, but MISSED! I wonder, do they miss a lot?
They certainly can. They often miss entirely or just catch one fang. However, that snake might not have aimed and missed. They often bluff-strike to warn you off, without ever intending to bite. They will also "strike" with a closed mouth for the same reason. About 50% of all bites where they actually bite (as opposed to bluff striking) are what's called a "dry bite," delivering no venom at all. About a third of the bites with venom include so little venom that no treatment is required (but you should still see a doctor if you're bitten). The thing is... you're too big to eat. Adult rattlesnakes can control their venom release and they prefer not to waste it on you. Little guys have less control, so a youngster is more likely to deliver a full load of venom. But then, a full load from a baby isn't anywhere near as much as what an adult can deliver. The venom of most rattlesnakes (but not all) is primarily hemolytic, so unless the victim is elderly or very young, or otherwise heath-compromised, the danger is not death but possible loss of a finger or toe, or some nerve damage in the vicinity of the bite.

As far as how likely they are to bite, this summer, my partner and I jumped out of our car to move a rattlesnake and (as is commonly the case) the driver of an oncoming vehicle swerved toward us and accelerated, hoping to drive us back so he could run over the snake. My partner had reached the snake but there was no time to hook and tail, so she just reached down on the run and grabbed him by the tail and just kept going (It was pretty epic, actually!). The snake (a big male) made one closed mouth bluff at her because he was startled when she grabbed him, but was otherwise completely cooperative. Never made any attempt to bite.
 

mike taylor

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Sure they do . Snakes really don't want to bite you believe it or not . The only things they think is stay alive ,keep warm ,and eat . We aren't on the menu . They bite as a last ditch effort to get you away .
 

Loohan

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Sure they do . Snakes really don't want to bite you believe it or not . The only things they think is stay alive ,keep warm ,and eat . We aren't on the menu . They bite as a last ditch effort to get you away .
They certainly can. They often miss entirely or just catch one fang. However, that snake might not have aimed and missed. They often bluff-strike to warn you off, without ever intending to bite. They will also "strike" with a closed mouth for the same reason. About 50% of all bites where they actually bite (as opposed to bluff striking) are what's called a "dry bite," delivering no venom at all. About a third of the bites with venom include so little venom that no treatment is required (but you should still see a doctor if you're bitten). The thing is... you're too big to eat. Adult rattlesnakes can control their venom release and they prefer not to waste it on you. Little guys have less control, so a youngster is more likely to deliver a full load of venom. But then, a full load from a baby isn't anywhere near as much as what an adult can deliver. The venom of most rattlesnakes (but not all) is primarily hemolytic, so unless the victim is elderly or very young, or otherwise heath-compromised, the danger is not death but possible loss of a finger or toe, or some nerve damage in the vicinity of the bite.

As far as how likely they are to bite, this summer, my partner and I jumped out of our car to move a rattlesnake and (as is commonly the case) the driver of an oncoming vehicle swerved toward us and accelerated, hoping to drive us back so he could run over the snake. My partner had reached the snake but there was no time to hook and tail, so she just reached down on the run and grabbed him by the tail and just kept going (It was pretty epic, actually!). The snake (a big male) made one closed mouth bluff at her because he was startled when she grabbed him, but was otherwise completely cooperative. Never made any attempt to bite.
Real interesting. Yes, someone here had warned me that the small ones can pack a disproportionate wallop.
 

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