What is a birth button on a rattlesnake?

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What is a birth button on a rattlesnake?

Terri Millard

Votes: 3317

A button is the first segment of a rattlesnakes rattle string. They are born with this segment.

Each time they shed their skin, a new segment is added to the rattle string. Many people erroneously believe you can tell the age of a rattlesnake by counting the segments on a rattle string. However, rattlers often shed more than once a year, adding multiple segments per year. And the string beaks. Sometimes accidentally, sometimes intentio…

Lisa Vitagliano

Votes: 1168

the first segment of what will become its rattle tail. every time the snake sheds a new ring is added to the tail and eventually becomes the rattle.

Caro Anderson

Votes: 8231

The original “button” on a rattlesnake’s rattle. Thereafter each shed adds a segment to the rattle, enabling it to make more noise….that is, until it gets too long and catches on something, then it can break off, just like our fingernails. Their rattles are made of keratin, the same as our nails, & no more permanent nor any indication of their age. Those with more opportunity to catch prey (living in a southern climate rather than northern where they must brumate for longer winters) may grow faster, but they’re still limited by the amount of prey that’s available, as well as their skills.

Sam Karr

Votes: 7622

The segments of a rattle snakes tail are called buttons a birth button is just the segment they are born with though they can’t make any noise as the rattle comes from the buttons rubbing against eachother from really fast movement this requires them to have more than 1 button

Richard Lee Fulgham

Votes: 6905

(Thanks to Outdoors International Rattlesnake Bites and the Snakes of Hunting Country)

Are baby rattlesnakes really more dangerous than adults?

No. Of course not.

I worked at the Atlanta Zoo’s Reptile House in 1969, when it was still called the Grant Park Reptile Institute. The curator was named Howard Hunt and the assistant curator Howard Lawler. They can vouch for this story.

I was the keeper of pit-vipers, including the rattlesnakes.

One of the park administrator’s wife — a fortyish redhead all of 99 pounds — was in charge of amphibians. This position was sneered upon by we real reptile keepers because none of the slimy little night-stalkers had venomous bites, like our charges.

She’d been consigned to the froggy zone for her own good. She was keeper of frogs and salamanders because she’d repeatedly been bitten by infant rattlers while working in the rattlesnake room.

In that place, three litters of living baby rattlers had been born weeks apart while she was in charge. Her job was to remove the infants and place them in smaller cages. They were about ten inches long, tiny replicas of grown rattlesnakes.

She was supposed to use the long L-shaped “snake hook” custom crafted for manipulating living snakes. Well, all three times she’d used her hands instead of the tool.

She’d been so enamored of the cute. big-eyed. multi-colored, squirming, little pit-vipers that she’d petted them and koo-chee-kooed them under their soft little necks. All three times she’d been thoroughly bitten. She never learned a goddamned thing.

When I asked what happened after the bites, I heard she’d been rushed to the hospital all three times because it was zoo protocol. This is what zoological parks did for snakebites. But the little fang holes and snagged skin only bled a bit, swelled up a little, and otherwise showed no serious ill effects.

Nobody remembered if she’d received antivenin serum or not. I presume she did, but in proportion to the small amount of venom injected.

At any rate, the antivenin was unnecessary. If the venom from the babies had been as potent as grown rattlers, her arm would have swollen to twice its size within an hour as vessel, connective, fat, and muscle tissue was liquefied.

The skin would have turned a malignant black — bulging and splitting open like a ripe eggplant bursting in the sun, hideous dark liquids running down the remains of her arm.

She would have screamed and screamed as her fingers tied themselves in knots — the tendons and ligaments of her arm shrinking and twisting, the remaining tissues soughing off in rotting chunks of human meat.

So no, it’s not worse getting bitten by a baby rattlesnake than by an adult. Cobras may be a different story. I hope I get a chance to tell you what happens then. I do know it is much worse.

(WARNING: Written months afterward: don’t presume bites from baby pit-vipers are harmless from this account. Some bites are horribly painful and dangerous.)

Tim Luca

Votes: 3669

Yes, rattlesnakes are vipers, pit vipers to be more specific.

As Georgia has already pointed out, rattlesnakes have heat sensing pits right below the nose. The heat pits enable the rattlesnake to see an infrared image of there surrounding, detecting even very small differences in temperature (with up 0.03 degrees Celsius accuracy).

Vipers (Viperidae) are split into two main subfamilies, old world vipers (Viperinae) and new world vipers/pit vipers (Crotalinae). The main difference between the two subfamilies is that all new world vipers / pit vipers possess, as their name suggests, heat sensing pits just like rattlesnakes.

The true rattlesnake genus, or Crotalus sp., is actually quite large and diverse. The largest and probably most famous species in this genus is the diamondback rattlesnake, or Crotalus adamanteus.

Rattlesnakes are very easily recognised by their distinctive way to scare off potential predators: their rattle! They will use it to warn approaching predators or other large creatures; it is trying to say “Hey, don’t come any closer, I do not want trouble and I am very dangerous!”.

There is actually on other genus of rattlesnakes – the pygmy rattlesnakes, or Sistrurus sp.. They also belong to the pit viper, or Crotalinae, subfamily and are very closely related to the “true” rattlesnakes.

Most rattlesnakes have a mainly haemotoxic and cytotoxic venom, which means that it will destroy you blood cells and cell tissue. A notable exception is the South American rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus), which has an unusually high proportion of neurotoxins in their venom that will mess with your nervous system. However, rattlesnakes are not very aggressive and will only strike in defence when they feel trapped!

I hope this was helpful!

Best regards,



Votes: 961

Very very far from unique in all truth. I suggest therefore that you pick up a dictionary and learn the correct meaning of the word unique .

Wander out into the Arizona desert one night and you will find out rapidly just how unique they are or not….

Make sure you have enough anti venom, bandages. dressings , skin swabs. and sterile syringes,before you do though eh !

Jim Miller

Votes: 6946

Do boars eat rattlesnakes?

Yep. So do sows and pigs. Hogs have very tough hide and seem to be immune to most snake venom. My sows used to fight over a snake that got in the pen with then. One would run from the others with the snake in its mouth which was repeatedly striking the sow in the face until she bit down killing the snake.

Terri Millard

Votes: 6125

See these?

These are fangs from one of my 5′ rattlesnakes. Sharp as a hypodermic needle, but also hollow and quite fragile. I’m sure if they hit a thin leather boot at just the right angle, it could go through. A 5′ rattler hits the feeding tongs as hard as a good punch.

See these?

I spent $250 on a pair. They are the most uncomfortable boots on the planet, they take forever to lace up, but I wear them on every rattlesnake rescue I perform.

Rose Cooper

Votes: 9543

Do rattlesnakes attack people?

Only as a last resort when they feel their life is in danger. They don’t attack because they enjoy it, like a lot of people seem to believe. They attack to eat and protect themselves.

Deanna Crownover

Votes: 6388

Rattlesnakes are a venomous type of snake found all across the southern parts of America. From the Western deserts to the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, there are Rattlers.

Here in my state (Florida), we have three different species of Rattler. Canebrake, Eastern Diamondback and pygmy.

Rattlesnakes are shy in nature and one of the least aggressive of the venomous snakes in our state.

It is possible to grab a 6-foot rattlesnake by the tail and have it do everything in its power to escape… They only strike as a last resort if they are being hunted. (That doesn’t mean they won’t strike if startled and, in a striking position already.)

They are called “the gentleman snake” because they warn you of their presence by vibrating their tails which have literal rattles on the end.

They can strike with incredible force ( hard enough to throw a fully grown man to the ground) and can strike up to half their body length.

This is a rattler (eastern diamondback) that I killed with a stick, a four-wheeler and a bottle of Scotch when I was 17. (Forgive the picture of a picture, we had actual cameras back then)

The snake had killed the rabbit and, what I really wanted was to see what the snake bite did to the rabbit. In order for me to retrieve the rabbit, I had to kill the snake… He was not giving up his supper!

I’m 5′9″. The Rattler measured 5 ft 10. It had fifteen rattles and a “button” (new rattle being formed at the tip).

This is a Canebrake rattler, which are the loveliest of rattlers in my opinion.

We also we also have Dusky Pygmy rattlers. Even though they are by far the smallest of rattlers, (only reaching inches in length), they are one of the most dangerous.

They are an “ambush snake”. They will sit in one place, completely immobile, for hours and wait for prey.

Very often, dogs get bitten by them and, it’s usually on the nose.

Scott Whipple

Votes: 2347

For most rattlesnake species the babies look more or less just like the adults, only smaller. So, if you know what to look for it’s pretty easy to identify a baby rattlesnake from a baby non-venomous snake. Because they are small and have a much shorter striking range, it should be possible to get close enough to a baby rattlesnake to enable positive identification. The key things you look for are (1) body coloration and patterns, (2) head shape and size relative to body, (3) tail. For item #2, understand that rattlesnakes have heads that are wider than their bodies. A baby snake with a big head is probably a rattlesnake. For item #3, you will need to look closely at the tail. A non-venomous snake will almost always have a tapering tail, while a rattlesnake’s tail will end in a rattle “button”. For item #1 you need to have some knowledge of the snakes in your area. Where I live in Arizona, the non-venomous snake most often confused with a rattlesnake is the bull snake (a.k.a. gopher snake). Let’s take a look at the babies of both:

The first image is of a baby bull snake, the second is a baby rattlesnake. Both babies are about 12 inches long. From a distance, both snakes look similar, with a somewhat similar pattern of scales. Snake patterns are highly variable in color, so dark orange blotches versus brown blotches aren’t really useful for identification. Only an experienced herpetologist would be able to identify these snakes from appearance (the rattlesnake’s coloration across its head is the difference here). But the average person can’t use body color to distinguish these two. 🙁 What you can see quickly are the heads… the bull snake’s head is barely larger than its body, while the rattlesnake’s head is almost 2x the width of its body – that’s one easy way to distinguish. And the bull snake’s tail tapers down to a point, while the rattlesnake tail ends in a rattle button – another easy to see distinguishing characteristic,

To be sure, you do need to get fairly close to the snake to see these differences. Do so with care. Three feet is usually a safe distance for a baby snake – they can’t strike as far as their adult counterparts. They can move surprisingly quickly though, so be prepared to step back in a hurry.

Now that you know how to distinguish baby rattlesnakes from their baby non-venomous cousins, I have to give you my lecture. Please leave any snake you find in the wild alone. It won’t bother you if you don’t bother it. You should NEVER kill a non-venomous snake, anywhere, Snakes are GOOD to have around, because they eat rodents and other disease-carrying critters. Likewise, I strongly discourage you from killing rattlesnakes, for the same reason. However, because of a rattlesnake’s tendency to live in a relatively small geographic territory, you may want to relocate any rattlesnakes that you find close to your house, especially if you have small kids or dogs, just to reduce the chance of a bite. There are several other posts here on Quora about how to do that safely. Thank you.

Steve Horton

Votes: 2033

How close can you get to a rattlesnake?

Heck, you can stand on one. Of course he’ll bite you if you do. You probably want to know how close you can get safely. I’ve been around a lot of rattlers and have yet to meet a really aggressive one. Water moccasins are a different matter. Personally, I’m comfortable getting to within four feet of a rattler, which is about how close I need to get to lop his head off with a machete if he’s in my yard. If he’s just minding his own business out in the country, I leave him alone, and have no need to get that close.

Joseph Carl Allen

Votes: 7483

The answer “No wild animals do” is a good one, but the word “like” is a very human concept. The better question is, “Is being held consistent with the nature of their being?” Imagine that a 10 meter tall, 500 Kg alien came along and picked you up. Would you “like” it? Would it be consistent with your human dignity and the nature of being human?

I have held several venomous and large constrictor snakes. I, out of instinct, acted like a tree with smart limbs. I let the snake go where it wanted to go and gave it a path to climb around on with my arms and legs. I also tried to stay calm. Most animals sense fear and I am not the bravest of the brave. The snakes never got aggressive and explored their environment and my body like they would have a warm tree. They inevitably wanted to climb down and the handler took them off of me.

Rattlers are a special case. They have a bad reputation, but they come with a warning device for God´s sake. I have lived in areas with Rattlers several times. My experience is that they are shy and not aggressive. I have heard of species that are nasty, but have never seen scientific documentation of this.


Votes: 692

How smart are rattlesnakes?

Smart enough to have survived 12–14 million years on earth despite human efforts to wipe them out…

Alex Netherton

Votes: 4116

Is it possible to have a rattlesnake as a pet?

Yes, but not a good idea, as they are dangerous and unpredictable. I have two pet Corn Snakes, and get nipped almost every time I feed them. Unless you are working in a Zoo or Nature Center, keeping a “hot” snake is simply not a good idea. Even with the best handling practices, a phone ringing, a knock on the door, a loud noise outside that startles you, and your attention lags for a moment. Plus, if one of these things make you jump, the snake can get frightened and you are on the way to the hospital.



John Dasef

Votes: 2502

Are rattlesnake bites deadly?

Original question: Are rattlesnake bites deadly?

Not generally, but they certainly can be.

Any bite from a venomous snake should be considered serious and requiring of medical attention. There are four major factors that will determine whether or not the bite is likely to be fatal:

Devon Miller

Votes: 2843

How far can a rattlesnake strike?

Snakes can strike anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of their whole body length. So it would depend on the size of the snake. A rattlesnake is 6ft on average. So average strike range is 2 to 3 feet.

George S. Hawkins IV

Votes: 6146

Are Eastern rattlesnakes poisonous?

No. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are not POISONOUS. I’ve eaten rattlesnake.

They are, however, highly VENOMOUS.

Priya Matthew

Votes: 8100

Do rattlesnakes swim?

all snakes can swim.

Vi Dan

Votes: 2880

Are rattlesnakes milked dead or alive?

They’re milked alive since it’s easier to get the venom and it’s renewable if the snake is left alive. Most zoos milk their venomous species for antivenom production and research.

Terri Millard

Votes: 5337

When do rattlesnakes lose their rattles?

Rattlesnakes often intentionally wedge them between objects and break them off. Interestingly, Klauber theorized that there is an optimum length for the snake to make the loudest sound. Too many segments, and it would be weighed down. Too few segments, and it wouldn’t produce enough sound. I have an Arizona black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus) who snaps his off each time the third segment is adde

Matteo Di Carlo

Votes: 7733

Is the rattlesnake the fastest snake?

The Bornean Keeled Green Pit Viper is the fastest , quickest and most agile snake. Generally speaking , most viper species are extremely swift , rattlesnakes are vipers.

Michael Fetterman

Votes: 7607

Why have rattlesnakes been attacking without a warning rattle lately?

Rattlesnakes have never attacked, ever. They defend themselves, like all snakes do, with nearly a hundred teeth in their mouth. They also have two fangs that they can choose to measure any amount of venom with their bite they seem fit. Since we are not food, they usually hold back on that amount, using just a smidge for defense to get you to leave them alone.

Their top speed is less than 1mph, the sidewinder being just slightly faster, so trying to flee from a giant mammal towering over their one to three inch tall body that moves at 3–5mph at walking speed is pointless. Their usual mode of def

Chirag Manoj

Votes: 6108

What happens when you remove the rattle part of the rattlesnake? Does the snake die or can it regrow the rattle?

So for answering this question , we first need to understand what the rattle is. The rattle is the very first line of defense of the snake, it uses the rattle to warn and drive off predatory animals that pose a threat to it. The rattle itself is a huge mass of keratin and keratin is the same protein which also constitutes our hair and nails. The whole structure of the rattle is composed of interlocked segments which is made up of this protein and each of these segments are made my modifying the scales that cover up the tip of the snake. As compared to other snakes rattlesnakes are born with a

Jim Howard

Votes: 730

What do buttons on a rattlesnake mean?

It means that they’re Orthodox. Reform rattlesnakes use zippers. The atheist and agnostic ones use Velcro.

Justin Hampton

Votes: 132

Where do Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes live?

On the east side of the country. Thus the description Eastern. They like dry, pine flat woods, sandy woodlands, and coastal scrub habitats from North Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana

Rachel Neumeier

Votes: 1849

Why does a rattlesnake rattle?

A rattlesnake rattles because it would rather not waste venom biting you. It just wants you to go away. Every drop of venom it wastes biting a potential enemy like a person is a drop it can’t use for killing prey.

Venomous snakes that don’t have rattles may warn predators by biting without injecting venom. These are called “dry bites” and explain why about half the people bitten by boomslangs, for example, don’t suffer ill effects from the bite.

Timothy Higgins

Votes: 280

Where does the massasauga (a type of rattlesnake) live?

They live in the lower peninsula of Michigan. None occur naturally in the upper peninsula. These snakes prefer marshy habitat, usually found in areas around lakes and streams. According to the Michigan DNR they are not very common. I have lived in Michigan for over 50 years and despite being in the outdoors hunting, hiking, and fishing all of the months the snakes are active, have never seen or heard one.

Jennith Thomas

Votes: 9542

What do rattlesnakes like to do?

Rattlesnakes like to eat, mate, and bask in the sun. Foolhardy rattlesnakes like to bask in the sun in the middle of the road. In the winter, rattlesnakes like to den and sleep. Rattlesnakes will be happy to leave you alone if you won’t bother them, and if you have vermin (mice or rats), they will eat them for you.

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