Everyone tries to kill it. Even itself isn’t too fond of its own race. It’s the rattlesnake. The snake which is treated as sinister and exterminable by most who knows it.
A chapparal cock (roadrunner) will dart at a rattlesnake until it strikes, and then peck at its eyes and head. Eagles and hawks seize the snake behind the head with one talon and about the middle of the body with another.if a bunch of turkeys find a rattle snake, the hens stand aside and let the gobblers kill it with their beaks and wings. Chickens often eat baby rattlers, just as they would eat worms. people collect them for zoos and reptile gardens and for preparing antivenins. Hogs , due to their subcutaneous layer of fat, are undisturbed by snake bite. Even other snakes like coachwhip, indigo and king snake devour them.
Though a rattle snake is venomous, yet its not so dangerous as the myths around it. When approached out in the open, a rattle snake invariably rattles, but if it is protected by a log or bush it stays perfectly quiet. The bizarre stories which are the basis of people’s fear of rattlesnakes are almost all untrue. They can’t strike half its length and it does not chase until chased. Rattlesnakes can actually live about a year without eating and this is about the extent of life of a rattlesnake in captivity because after capture they usually deny food. Out in the open, a rattlesnake is less dangerous after it has eaten, because in killing a prey about two thirds of its venom is expended, which takes about two weeks to replenish. They are very sensitive to cold, and the temperature determines the length of their hibernation.the author says that on chilly days in late fall she has found rattle snakes in fields, so stiff with cold, that one can pick it up like a crooked stick.
Awakening from hibernation in early spring, a snake first thinks of a mate. The gestation period requires about five months and the young have to be born long enough in advance to the winter. About a foot long at birth, they possess well developed fangs and a birth rattle, and begin killing for food, principally field mice, a few weeks after birth.they shed on an average of three times a year, and with each exuviations a new rattle appears. The age of a rattlesnake can seldom be determined by the number of rattles because these break off or are gnawed off by rats while the snakes are hibernating. The senses of sight and smell are well developed in them, but they do not hear in the ordinary sense of the word. Tests made by one herpetologist proved that they paid no attention to loud noises made above their heads, but they did respond when a footstep caused vibration through the floor. With their forked tongue they determine the roughness of the crawling surface, and it’s also an aid to smelling.
There are about fortyseven species and subspecies of rattlesnakes in north America . The length can range from around thirty inches, like the sidewinder , to about eight feet, like the eastern diamondback. The eastern diamondback is found throughout Florida and northward into the Carolinas and as far west as Louisiana . The western diamondback, second in size, is found in California, Okalohoma, Arkansas and Missouri. The rattle snake leads a disagreeable, uncertain life and is thus always instinctively on the defensive. It’s the way they are made.