Rattlesnakes are really an amazing reptile. They belong to the Vipor family and there are more than 30 species. They live in deserts from Canada to Mexico, and all throughout the southwest deserts in America. They can live to be 25 years old.
The largest western rattlesnakes are 34-83 inches long. Rattlesnakes have flat wide heads shaped like a triangle and a slender body.Their bodies are covered with scales. They have diamond shape patterns on their back.
Western diamondback rattlesnakes live in dry hot places called deserts.What are deserts? Deserts are areas that get less than 10 inches of rain each year.Rattlesnakes can be seen sunning themselves on the desert rocks to keep themselves warm.
In the winter, they live in dens to keep warm. There can be hundreds of rattlesnakes in one den. They are usually loners. They can hibernate for up to 6 months. After hibernation, getting food is their number one priority. Rattlesnakes are predators. This means they must eat other animals to stay alive. They eat small mammals like rats and mice. They also eat birds, lizards, and frogs.
The Rattlesnakes vision is really awesome. They can also smell with their forked tongue. After a rattler bites its prey it lets the prey run away. They eat their prey head first, by unlocking their jawbones. They are completely helpless while they are eating and are not able to defend themselves.
When the babies are born, they have no rattle. What they are born with looks more like a button. When they are between 1 to 2 weeks old, they shed their skin and the first segment of their rattle is created. Every time they shed their skin a new segment of the rattle is created. Have you ever wondered exactly how a rattler sheds its skin? It just starts rubbing against rocks to loosen the skin around its jaw first. Then it will keep sliding in, around and through the rocks, loosening and sliding out of the skin as it goes.
A lot of snakes are killed on roads. The snakes love the heat from the pavement and will often sit on the road and bask, which puts them in a lot of danger. Many times crossing a road, is the only way back to their den.
Rattlesnakes are also wonderful swimmers! They push against the water, just like they do on the ground. They don't hunt in the water though. They are such good swimmers that some rattlesnakes have actually been found several miles out to sea!