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WHAT IS THE RATTLE SNAKE?


The rattlesnake is the top predator in the eastern forests of North America but it is also no laughing matter in all of the other parts of north america. It is found nowhere else in the world. The rattlesnake is actually dwindling in numbers in recent years and many parts of North America are trying encourage their numbers. Yes they are poisonous to the bite but they also help keep much of North America rodent free. So they help man more then we know. Rattlesnakes can be found in a range of habitats and mountain elevations up to 14,000 feet.



The timber rattlesnake was once found in both Rhode Island and the southern Maine, but has been exterminated from both states. Alaska, Delaware, and Hawaii have no records of rattlesnakes. Every other state has at least 1 species of rattlesnake. The Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis ) has one of the largest home ranges of rattlesnakes in North America. This rattlesnake or its subspecies can be found in the Canadian provinces and southward across the central United States to Mexico. In South Dakota, the subspecies is called the Prairie Rattlesnake (C. v. viridis ) and found 10-15 miles east of the Missouri River and western South Dakota, in the open prairies, haylands, and croplands -- any area with an abundance of food.














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Rattlesnakes are cold-blooded or ectothermic animals. Their body temperature is influenced more by the temperature at the grounds surface where they are lying, rather than the air temperature. High or low temperatures cause the snakes to seek escape cover or shady areas. Most snakes cannot survive exposure to direct sunlight with temperatures over 100 degrees F, but rattlesnakes have a greater endurance to lower or freezing temperatures. Lethal temperatures for the snakes depend on the time of exposure. Unlike warm-blooded or endothermic animals, snakes are unable to produce their own body heat. To maintain a desirable temperature, snakes must rely the temperature or warmth of their surroundings. The snake's circulatory/nervous systems aid in controlling the warming or cooling of their body.

 

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