Man Records Himself Calmly Approaching 50 Rattlesnakes — Do They Bite?

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 15, 2023

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Portrait of a Rattlesnake
© iStock.com/Matt Kaminski

Key Points:

  • Rattlesnakes are present throughout North and South America, and there are more than 30 different species. They are typically found in a variety of habitats, including deserts, forests, grasslands, and rocky areas.
  • In the video below, Bryan D. Hughes of Rattlesnake Solutions approaches a variety of rattlesnakes in the wild to test how aggressive or defensive these snakes will be when faced with a threat.
  • Species including the Mojave rattlesnake, western diamondback, and dusky pigmy rattlesnake all seemed to be scared when approached and slithered away without confrontation.

If you found yourself facing 50 rattlesnakes, what would you do? I think the majority of us would run away in fear! Bryan D. Hughes of Rattlesnake Solutions faced this exact situation and his reaction was, well … you’ll see.

Rattlesnakes are venomous snakes that are found throughout North and South America. They are known for their distinctive rattle, which serves as a warning to potential predators or threats.

Hughes uploaded an information video to his YouTube channel where he starts off by talking about how rattlesnakes aren’t as aggressive as people are led to believe. Many individuals claim that snakes chase after them when approached and Hughes wants to prove that stories like that aren’t exactly what they seem.

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Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus pyrrhus)

Unlike Bryan D. Hughes, many people would not willingly approach venomous rattlesnakes like this one.

©Alexander Wong/Shutterstock.com

He does so by approaching a large variety of rattlesnakes in the wild to get a real-life reaction to whether or not these slithery critters actually chase people off.

In his video, Hughes begins with the Mojave Rattlesnake, which is known for being quite aggressive. 

Judging by the footage, it looks like the snake was more scared of Bryan and slithered away without chasing anyone. The same can be said for the rest of the snakes throughout the video. From a curled-up Western Diamondback to a Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake, all of these serpents want to get as far away as they can without any confrontation. 

closeup of mojave rattlesnake with shaking rattle

The Mojave rattlesnake is known for its aggressiveness and potent neurotoxic venom.

©Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock.com

How Common Are Rattlesnake Attacks on Humans?

While rattlesnake bites can be dangerous and even deadly, attacks on humans are relatively rare.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there are approximately 7,000 to 8,000 venomous snake bites reported in the United States each year, with the majority of these involving rattlesnakes. However, only a small percentage of these bites result in serious medical complications or death.

One reason for the relatively low number of rattlesnake attacks on humans is that these snakes are typically not aggressive and will only bite in self-defense or when provoked. Rattlesnakes are typically more active during the warmer months when they are more likely to encounter humans who are hiking, camping, or engaging in other outdoor activities.

Another factor that contributes to the low incidence of rattlesnake attacks is the availability of effective antivenom treatments. Antivenom is a medication that can counteract the effects of snake venom and can be administered in a hospital setting by trained medical professionals.

Rattlesnake

There are 7,000 to 8,000 venomous snake bites reported in the United States each year.

©Tom Reichner/Shutterstock.com

How Long Does a Rattlesnake Live For?

The lifespan of a rattlesnake is influenced by a variety of factors, including the species, its environment, diet, and reproductive success. In general, rattlesnakes that live in warmer climates tend to have shorter lifespans than those that live in cooler environments. This is because warmer temperatures can cause snakes to metabolize food more quickly, leading to a higher rate of cell damage and a shorter lifespan.

Most rattlesnakes can live for 10 to 20 years in the wild. However, some species have been known to live for up to 30 years or more. In captivity, rattlesnakes can live even longer, with some individuals living to be over 40 years old.

A rattlesnake’s lifespan depends on many factors, including whether it is federally protected like the New Mexico Ridgenose Rattlesnake.

©iStock.com/Shoemcfly

Someone could think a rattlesnake pursued them for a variety of reasons, including misinterpreting action or context or experiencing terror. As Hughes located rattlesnakes and watched the various ways they tried to avoid the predator, he noticed that there were definitely behaviors that, if someone didn’t know any better and if some adrenaline-induced fear response were added to the mix, could be mistaken for aggressive behavior. 

Our expectations and personal bias can shape our perceptions and recollections because when the rattle goes off, a lifetime’s worth of context and disinformation rise to the surface. Our experiences with rattlesnakes can reveal more about our sense of adventure, our courage, and other aspects of our self-perception than the actual behavior of the snakes. 

Rattlesnakes will bite people. Yet, most incidents are due to accidents like people stepping on a snake that’s disguised in the surrounding area rather than any act of aggressiveness. In total, while 5,000 to 10,000 venomous snake bites happen in the United States each year, only about five deaths occur in the country due to snake bites.

Do rattlesnakes actively attack hikers that pass them or pursue people into houses? Obviously not. They’re just animals in their natural habitat that don’t like to be approached and provoked by people. To learn more from Bryan D. Hughes, check out his video below. It’s truly amazing to see one person interact with so many different rattlesnakes.

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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