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Posted by on Oct 31, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

How Do Rattlesnakes Rattle?

How Do Rattlesnakes Rattle?

At the end of a rattlesnake’s tail is a chain of hard rings linked closely together. When the snake is alarmed, it usually shakes its tail. The hard rings hit against one another, making a rattling noise. By shaking its rattle, the rattlesnake is able to warn away bigger animals that might step on it or harm it.

A baby rattler is born with just a button at the tip of its tail. Each time it sheds its skin, usually three or four times a year, a new ring appears. These buttons are made up of a material called Keratin, which is what the scales and your fingernails are made of!

The rattles are empty, so what makes the noise? The noise comes from each segment knocking together, so until a rattlesnake has two or more pieces it isn’t going to make a sound! But since the brittle rings often break off, even the oldest rattlesnakes have only about eight or nine “rattles”.

Rattlesnakes are found in the southern parts of the United States, from the deserts to the mountains and grow between 3 and 4 feet (.9 to 1.2 m) long. There are 16 different types of Rattlers such as the Eastern Diamondback, Western Diamondback, Sidewinder and the Speckled, just to name a few. All of them have rattles, are venomous and are pit vipers.

Content for this question contributed by Karen Walls, resident of Ludlow, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA