Imagine being abandoned on a volcanic rattlesnake-infested island. This nightmarish scenario is exactly what happened to a few scientists recently. Not all rattlesnakes are dangerous, but still, no one wants to be trapped near a gigantic snake nest. Keep reading to discover the snake-infested volcanic island known as “the biggest rattlesnake nest in the world”.
Venomous rattlesnakes are part of the Viperidae family and are native to the Americas. When they feel threatened, these snakes make rattling noises by shaking the muscles at the base of their tail to scare off predators. Rattlesnakes are the leading contributor to snakebite injuries in North America, though their bite is rarely fatal.
Timber rattlesnakes have a very toxic bite. Native to eastern North America, timber rattlesnakes grow between 36 to 60 inches long. However, sometimes they stop maturing at shorter lengths. For example, the shortest mature female to produce eggs was 28.4 inches long. However, the longest timber rattlesnake recorded was 74.5 inches long! Typically, these rattlesnakes weigh less than 3.3 pounds. However, some timber rattlesnakes reach an impressive 9.9 pounds. You can find these snakes nearly all across America, including Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, and Canada.
Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes
The western diamondback rattlesnake is also known as the Texas diamond-back. Despite its name, this rattlesnake species inhabits many places outside of Texas, including the southwestern United States and Mexico, where it hunts small mammals. Adults usually grow up to 4 feet, but some reach past 5 feet long. Most of them are a unique dusty-looking gray-brown color with stripes in varying shades. They also have blotches on their bodies in the form of distinct diamond shapes. Of all types of rattlesnakes in the United States, this species is responsible for the most bites.
Prairie rattlesnakes are a common species with triangular heads and blotches on their scales. These snakes have a heat-sensitive pit on each side of their head, which helps them detect temperatures. They also have the longest range of any rattlesnake in the United States. You can find them anywhere between Mexico and Canada. They commonly hunt for gophers, prairie dogs, birds, and mice, striking quickly when they are close enough to their prey.
Red Diamond Rattlesnake
Red diamond rattlesnakes are bright pit vipers with distinctly triangular heads. They are found in southwestern California and Baja California in Mexico. They are large snakes, sometimes exceeding 39 inches long. Most red diamond rattlesnakes have dorsal scales arranged in 29 rows, but this number varies between 25 to 31. Interestingly, coastal red diamond rattlesnakes consume large mammals compared to desert-dwelling red diamond rattlesnakes. Although you should seek treatment if ever bitten by a snake, this species has one of the least potent venoms compared to all species.
What is the Biggest Rattlesnake Nest in the World?
Tortuga Island is known as “the biggest rattlesnake nest in the world”. This island in the Gulf of California is relatively new, produced by recent volcanic activity. However, its best known for its large native population of Tortuga Island rattlesnakes. Interestingly, this species is only found on this one small island. They grow up to 39 inches long, with the largest recorded at 41.7 inches. They are a grey or greyish brown, sometimes having a slight purple or pink hue. Similar to the red diamond, they have rows of dorsal scales. Although these snakes are listed as least concern, they are limited to Tortuga Island.
This island is popular with scientists, specifically because of its young age and its unique rattlesnake population. Three scientists recently visited the island for a research trip, and they were left stranded for three days. The boatman who dropped them off was supposed to return to take them back to the peninsula, but he never showed up. Instead, the three were rescued by a naval vessel after they were reported missing. Luckily, they were all safe and healthy, and despite all the rattlesnakes, none of the researchers was bitten.
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