Saturday, November 22, 2008

Life Photo Meme: Unloved

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Viperidea

This rattlesnake is definitely an unloved animal. Most live in fear of encountering it due to its poisonous nature and rapid strike abilities. It has the ability to strike without pulling its body back first, and can reach 1/3 to 1/2 their body length. The rattle on the tail is added to every time the snake sheds its skin. However, there is one species of rattlesnake which does not have a rattle, the tree-climbing Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake. Since this rattlesnake sneaks up and eats birds, it lost its rattle.

Rattlesnakes are ovoviviparous, retaining eggs within their body and giving birth to live young after 90 days. They are also the newest snake group, with an interesting heat sensitive organ located on the sides of their heads. According to the San Diego zoo, when rattlers hibernate for the winter, they use the same den that they were born in. It has been reported that some dens have been used for 100 years [1].

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