Rattlesnake, rattlesnake or pithead - this is an extensive subfamily that combines the 21st genus and 224th species.
A distinctive feature of the rattlesnake is two dimples, which are located between the nostrils and the eyes of the snake, which serve as a thermal imager. They help the snake to hunt due to the difference in ambient temperature and body prey. Like all poisonous snakes, the rattlesnake has two long hollow fangs.
Long rattlesnakes grow from 60 to 80 centimeters. But some species can reach three and a half meters (bushmeister). And the smallest member of the family is only fifty centimeters long (ciliary viper). The color of the skin of a snake is very dependent on the genus, but the belly of all species is yellowish-beige with dark spots.
The sight and hearing of rattlesnakes is not very well developed and they see only from a short distance, but the snake is sensitive to fluctuations in air and land, as well as to temperature changes (even a difference of 0.1 degrees is noticeable to them).
The main feature of this subfamily is a rattle. At the end of the tail (6-8 vertebrae) there are keratinized conical plates embedded one into one. These are modified tail flakes.
Most of the rattlesnake subfamily live in the Americas. Approximately 70 species live in Southeast Asia. Three species live on the territory of Russia, and more specifically in the Far East. Rattlesnakes can be found in India and Sri Lanka. Also in the east, countries such as China, Japan and Korea have learned to use these snake cooking.
Small warm-blooded animals (mice, birds, rats, and even rabbits ) fall into the main diet of rattlesnakes. Also in the diet of rattlesnakes there are frogs, small snakes, fish and some insects (caterpillars and cicadas).
Rattlesnakes kill their victims with poison by attacking from an ambush. It hunts, as a rule, once a week. A snake eats about half its own weight for hunting.
As for many species of reptiles, the first danger to rattlesnakes is a person, killing snakes out of fear or in the excitement of hunting.
Rattlesnakes have a lot of natural enemies. This and weasel, ferret and marten. Of birds - eagles, peacocks and ravens . Snake venom acts very weakly on these animals. Also, some large fish can be dangerous for rattlesnakes.
Raccoons and coyotes are also dangerous for both adults and young animals.
But perhaps the most amazing enemy is the pig . Since the skin is thick and the subcutaneous fat is thick, the poison, even with a strong bite, does not enter the bloodstream, and the pigs themselves will not refuse to eat a snake. This is used by farmers (before plowing the fields grazing pigs on them).
For young snakes, low temperatures are a danger.
- Some species of rattlesnakes once having chosen a hole for many years live in it. Nora very often passes from generation to generation over many decades.
- Despite their formidable appearance, rattlesnakes are quite fearful animals. They will never attack first. And if the snake begins to rattle its tail, then this does not mean at all that it is ready to throw. So she indicates her discontent and is nervous, trying to scare away an uninvited guest.
- The rattlesnake has one of the most dangerous poisons that can kill an adult in a few minutes. But for the snake itself, poison is not a threat. And even in moments of panic, when the snake makes random throws and bites everything around itself and in particular itself does not do much harm to it.