Shared November 9, 2017
Think you know all there is to know about rattlesnakes?! Did you know that the age of a rattlesnake has nothing to do with the number of rattles on its tail?! Or that rattlesnakes can bite without releasing poison? Find out all the most interesting facts about rattlesnakes in this video!
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Here are the most interesting facts you didn’t know about rattlesnakes!
9 - Hold up, how many?!
Rattlesnakes are a group of venomous snakes for those of you that didn’t know that little fact. There are actually 36 known species of rattlesnakes, with between 65 to 70 subspecies. Rattlesnakes are all native to the Americas, ranging from southern Alberta and southern British Columbia in Canada alllll the way down to central Argentina! The large majority of species live in the American Southwest and Mexico. In the US, the states with the most types of rattlesnakes are Texas and Arizona.
Some species can have extremely specific habitat requirements, as they’re only able to live within certain plant associations in a narrow range of altitudes. Most species however, live near open, rocky areas. Rocks offer these guys cover from predators, but they also love open areas where they can bask in the sunshine. Rattlesnakes can also be found in a wide variety of other habitats including prairies, marshes, deserts, and forests.
Most species of rattlesnakes aren’t endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake is "critically endangered" because of its limited range - it’s found only on Santa Catalina Island off of the coast of California. The most interesting feature of this specific rattlesnake is actually its lack of a rattle. This is widely believed to be a localized adaptation for hunting birds.
8 - Definitely will need this
Rattlesnake skin has a set of overlapping scales that cover the entire body, providing protection from a variety of threats including dehydration and physical trauma. One of the major benefits of their is the fact that it’s patterned in a way that helps them to be camouflaged from their predators.
Rattlesnakes don’t generally have bright or showy colors and instead they rely on subtle earth tones that resemble the surrounding environment. Creases in their epidermal tissue is what connects the scales of rattlesnakes. When they eat something really big, these creases unfold, allowing the skin to expand so they can swallow their much bigger prey. Although a rattlesnake’s skin looks as if it’s stretching tightly to accommodate their meal, in reality, their skin is simply smoothing out from its creased state. Another important function of rattlesnake skin is the sensation of changes in air temperature, which can guide the snakes towards warm basking/shelter locations. To maintain a stable body temperature, they exchange heat with their external environments.
7 - The biggest rattlesnake is…..
According to National Geographic, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake are the largest venomous snakes in North America, as they can grow up to a whopping 8 feet in length! These big guys are found from North Carolina to Louisiana, and they have a visually striking yellow-bordered black diamond pattern, hence the name. The maximum reported lengths for an eastern diamondback rattlesnakes was a little over 8 feet long. One specimen shot in 1946 measured 7.8 feet in length and weighed 34 pounds.
Like most rattlesnakes, this species is terrestrial and not really good at climbing. However, when they’re really hungry and in search of prey, they’ve been spotted as far as high as 32 feet off the ground! Can you imagine an 8 foot snake staring you from a tree?!
As if that’s not enough, the eastern diamond rattlesnakes are also known to be excellent swimmers. Specimens have often been spotted crossing stretches of water between barrier islands and the mainland off the Georgia coast, in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Florida Keys, sometimes miles from land. The water’s gotta be one of the worst places to find a rattlesnake!
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