Thursday, April 26, 2012

Animal Tips for Writers: Rattlesnakes

The rattlesnake is one of four kinds of venomous snake your hero can encounter in the United States, and there is a large variety of species and subspecies of rattlesnake. Their scales tend to be colored in earth tones, and most rattlesnake skins have a pattern such as diamonds or bands.

Rattlesnakes get their name from the rattle on their tail, which is thought to be used to warn predators against attacking this dangerous snake. Despite this warning and the rattlesnake’s venom, some animals actually prey on rattlesnakes, including hawks, badgers, and kingsnakes.

Rattlesnakes are most commonly found near rocky, open areas, but they also live in many other habitats, including forests. Some species of rattlesnake hibernate during the winter and gather in rattlesnake dens where there can be hundreds or even over a thousand rattlesnakes.

Since rattlesnakes are responsible for more bites than any other snake and cause approximately 80% of the fatalities from snake bites, Rattlesnakes are the most dangerous snake in the United States. However, 99% of bite victims who receive anti-venom within 1 to 2 hours after a bite survive.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner


  1. Creepy pictures. o.O

    Thanks for the snake education, anyhow. ;)

  2. Cool. :D

    That bit about the rattlesnake dens is especially fascinating. Just imagine all the fun you can give your characters with one of those. :twisted:

    1. Thank you, Mark!

      Yes, I was thinking the same thing. ;)

  3. Great info! I had a scene in Peter's Angel with a rattlesnake once... It doesn't fit anymore, but I'd love to salvage the concept sometime. Ratters are a simple, common way to spice up everyday life with danger. ;) This information will be very useful next time I write about one of these animals. :D

    1. Thank you, Aubrey!

      I agree that they can be a good way to spice up a story. ;)