Blink and You’ll Miss This Insanely Fast Rattlesnake Strike, Even in Slow Motion

Written by Maxwell Martinson
Published: September 8, 2022
© Kevin Wells Photography/Shutterstock.com
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Rattlesnakes are among the most feared creatures in the Americas. Snakes are feared around the world, but rattlesnakes are unique in that they have a sort of ‘calling card.’

When they’re frustrated, threatened, or aggressive, they’ll often rattle the end of their tail which is where they get the name ‘rattle’ snake. The rattle serves as a warning call, letting intruders know that they’d be better off moving along.

The physical at the end of the tail rattle is made of keratin (just like hair, nails, hooves, and horns), and the muscles behind it can fire off 50 times per second for a period of roughly two hours straight!

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Terrifying as the rattle may be for those who hear it, it’s a good thing they let us know they’re around.

In any case, if you’re like the person filming the video we’re discussing, it’s always possible to get in the path of a rattlesnake.

How Fast Can Rattlesnakes Strike?

The scary thing is that rattlesnakes can strike extremely fast and they’re equipped with deadly poison. Rattlesnakes strike at around 6.5 miles per hour which doesn’t sound very fast at first.

Watch the video, however, and you’ll see how fast 6.5 miles per hour is at such a short range. Rattlesnakes can lunge around half of the length of their body when they strike.

So, if you have an 8-foot diamondback rattlesnake, it can strike you from 4 feet away. Even baby rattlesnakes can strike at high speeds and deliver venom, so any time you see or hear a snake you believe to be a rattlesnake, the best thing to do is to stay away.

They also have incredibly short reaction times, so they could strike in a split second. That makes it very tough to get out of the way or defend yourself when a snake decides to strike.

If the snake does sink its teeth into you, it’s unlikely that you’ll die from a rattlesnake bite if you treat it quickly.

You’ll experience a host of difficult physiological symptoms, though. If you’re bit, the best practice is to get away from the snake and then do all you can to keep your heart rate low while you wait for medical attention. That means remaining calm.

The higher your heart rate, the quicker the venom will spread throughout your body.

What’s Going On in This Video?

The video appears to take place somewhere in the American Southwest. This region is where the majority of rattlesnakes live.

The video shows a young rattlesnake striking repeatedly at the camera and rattling its tail occasionally. You can see the striking speed and reaction times clearly when the video slows down.

One aspect of this video that we should highlight is the fact that the man filming is following and encouraging the animal to strike. This is an incredibly dangerous thing to do, and it’s highly recommended that you avoid doing this if you happen to see a rattlesnake.

Plus, it puts unnecessary stress on the animal in its habitat and that’s never the compassionate or intelligent thing to do! It’s a lose-lose for you and the snake, so do your best to leave it alone and stay away.

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rock rattlesnake
© Kevin Wells Photography/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Hi! I'm Max and I'm a writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've been freelancing for more than five years and love the freedom and variety that this profession offers. Animals are also a big part of my life, and a lot of my time is dedicated to playing with my cat, Herbie.

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