Young Snake Rattles
Name: Amy Rene B.
Are rattlesnakes born with their rattles?
If I recall correctly they have a primordial rattle that does not rattle.
As the molt a new segment is added until they can actually make a
rattle...rattle :-)...Since a rattle snake can shed its skin (molt) as much
a 5 times a year ( in some places) the rattle can add as many as 5 segments
a year. But the rattle can lose segments also...so there is no accurate way
of telling a rattle snakes age from its rattle.
Timber rattlesnakes, the most common species in much of the United States, are born alive, may
be about a foot long at birth. "Each is equipped with venom, fangs, and a single tiny ratlle
segment called a button." Tyning, A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles (Stokes Nature Guides).
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Update: June 2012