Thursday, December 09, 2010

RATTLESNAKE FAMILY (Crotalus and Sistrurus): Non-aggression and Self-defense

“Rattlesnake” is a generic name for thirty species (and numerous subspecies) of Snakes in the Crotalus and Sistrus groups of the Pit-Viper Sub-family.  These Snakes have a distinctive rattle at the end of their tails.  This rattle consists of buttons of keratin, which makes a sound when knocked together.  (However, the larger the Snake’s rattle, the quieter the sound.)
            Rattlesnakes are native to the Americas.  Emblematic of the American Old West, these Snakes are often depicted coiled, ready to strike.  Most notable of the Rattlesnakes are Diamondbacks with their characteristic diamond-patterned skins.  Meanwhile, Sidewinders wind their way through the deserts across loose sand in a diagonal direction.  But, the reputation of Rattlesnakes as aggressors are underserved since They pose no threat unless provoked.
            Although most Rattlesnakes belong to the Crotalus grouping, Pigmy Rattlesnakes belong to the Sistrurus grouping.  These Rattlesnakes make tiny buzzing noises that are often difficult to hear.  Another member of the Sistrurus grouping is Massasauga (Black Rattler).  This Snake lives as far north as the region of the Great Lakes.  In comparison to other Rattlesnakes, the rattles of the Sistrurae are small and make a high-pitched buzzing sound.
            Usually non-belligerent, Rattlesnakes will defend Themselves when cornered.  Although their venom is not particularly toxic, their large fangs do deliver a great amount of venom.  However before They strike, Rattlesnakes will shake their tails in warning.
            Before striking, Rattlesnakes warm everyone of their presence, They do this to avoid being stepped on.  Also, Rattlesnakes do not want to strike and waste their venom needlessly.  They prefer non-confrontation where the intruder steps asides or moves on.  In other words, when you hear the rattle sound, run in the opposite direction.  Heed the sound and be safe.
            Rattlesnakes teach non-aggression and self-defense.  These Snakes prefer being left alone and not being pestered.  However Rattlesnakes will ably defend Themselves with their venom if need be.

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