About 50 kinds of rattlesnakes are known.
Rattlesnake facts for kids
They are a kind of pit viper. People of science call the two big groups of rattlesnakes each called a genus either Crotalus or Sistrurus. All of them have a poison bite, but some kinds are a much greater danger than others. The name rattlesnake is used because they have a special tail with several parts on the end that can make a loud bzzzz sound, or rattle. They produce very strong hemotoxic venom which destroys blood cells and vessels.
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It is used for hunting and for defense against predators. Rattlesnake bites are fatal for humans if not treated with antidote immediately.
Rattlesnakes sometimes bite without releasing the poison. These types of bites are known as "dry bites". Some snakes are immune to the poison of rattlesnakes.
Thanks to that feature, king snakes are main predators of rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes are carnivores meat-eaters.
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They hunt rats, mice and small birds usually. Rattlesnakes have special kind of thermal receptors that are used for detection of warm-blooded creatures their prey.
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They can also locate prey by using the tongue which collects scent molecules from the air. Also, rattlesnake senses vibration of the ground. Optimal temperature for the survival of the rattlesnake is between 27 and 32 degrees of Celsius.
Mice, rats, rabbits, gophers, ground dwelling birds, lizards and other small animals make up the diet of this snake. Diamondbacks have many predators and not always because the predator wants to eat them. Animals such as deer, antelope, cows and horses regard the diamondback as a threat and they may try to trample or stomp the snake. Eagles, hawks, roadrunners, kingsnakes, coyote, bobcats or fox are predators who look at these snakes as a source of food. Diamondbacks will often spend the hot daytime hours coiled in the shade of low-growing shrubs, piles of natural or artificial debris, or rocks.
They will also utilize underground burrows of other animals. In the winter, they retreat into caves or similar places to hibernate. This snake ranges in size from 3 to 5 feet long with a few reaching 7 feet long. Identifying Features The Western diamondback rattlesnake Crotalus atrox is a heavy bodied snake with a triangular shaped head. Habitat This snake is considered a generalist, which means that it isn't too picky about its habitat. Wild Status Currently, western diamondback rattlesnakes are not threatened or endangered.