[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Placerita Nature News: Things to Know About Rattlesnakes | 04-22-2012
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
80°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 16
1947 - Newhall Hardware opens on Spruce Street, now called Main Street [story]


| Sunday, Apr 22, 2012

Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis helleri) | Photo: USGS

The days are getting warmer, and the rattlesnakes are being seen in our valley. The climate and the food supply are adequate, so they are here to stay.

Rattlesnakes are feared – but by learning a few facts about them, you should be able to respect them and even appreciate them for the wonderful creatures they are.

Remember also that they are useful, as they kill many rodents.

Every time a rattlesnake sheds it skin, it adds a new section to its rattler. For this reason, some people say you can tell the age of a rattlesnake by the number of sections in its rattler. But the sections often break off, so you really cannot use them to tell age.

A rattlesnake can strike prey that is very close to its head from almost any position. But to strike an animal that is more than a few inches away, it throws the front half of its body forward, then sinks its fangs into the prey.

The fangs of rattlesnakes are hollow. They have sharp, pointed tips that can break through skin.

Venom is pushed through the hollow fangs into the prey. The amount of venom injected depends on the size of the prey. In general, a rattlesnake will use less venom for smaller prey and more for larger prey.

The fangs of a rattlesnake are usually folded inside the mouth. The fangs move forward when the snake strikes, and the snake begins to inject the venom.

In general, a rattlesnake can strike out for a distance of half of its body length. However, a rattlesnake that is up on a ledge may be able to strike farther.

 

How they hunt

All rattlesnakes are pit vipers. That means that they have special openings called pits on their faces that can feel heat. Even in complete darkness, the pits can “see” the heat given off by the bodies of warm-blooded animals.

To smell, a rattlesnake uses its tongue. The moist tongue is flicked out to pick up smells from the air and ground. The tongue carries the smell into the mouth, where it is “tasted” by a special structure called Jacobson’s organ.

The ears of a rattlesnake are inside the head; there no ear openings on the outside.

Different senses are used to find prey at different distances. When an animal is far away, the snake can hear the vibration though its jaw bones when resting on the ground. At close range, the snake can use its tongue or its pits.

They can see short distances, up to 15 feet. They have large eyes with pupils that can open very wide so they can see in the dim light. They do not have eye lids.

When they hunt, rattlesnakes move slowly and carefully or may wait in one spot for prey to come along. They poke their heads into holes using their tongue and pits to see if warm animals are inside. When they strike, they lunge forward at a speed of 10 feet per second.

Snakes must swallow their prey whole. They use the muscles in their necks to pull the food down into the stomach. This is a slow process, and it may take hours for a snake to finish swallowing a meal.

 

How to behave

If you see a rattlesnake on the trail, freeze in your tracks and move away slowly without turning your back. Do not chase after it or do anything that might get the snake excited.

Parents, always walk first on the trail. You will see the snake first and will be able to make the right move.

Bear in mind that the snake does not want to bite you. You are not prey.

Never try to kill the snake, as it’s often the time you will get bitten.

Dog owners, you know your dog should be on a leash on the trail. If you live in an area with many rattlesnakes, be aware there is a vaccine that can be given to your dog before disaster happens.

Always look where you put your hands. Do not reach into holes or dark places where a rattler could be hiding.

Never pick up a snake, even if it looks dead. It might just be pretending to be.

Try to stay off of tall grasses, but be careful if you have to walk through them.

If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, have somebody else drive you to the hospital to prevent your blood from pumping faster and allowing the venom to spread. Hospitals are well equipped to deal with this emergency, especially in our area.

 

This article originally appeared in the March-April 2012 edition of The Rattler, the newsletter of the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates. The Nature Center is located at 19152 Placerita Canyon Rd, Newhall. For information or to volunteer, visit www.Placerita.org. Join the PCNCA Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/pcnca.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NONPROFIT LINKS

NONPROFIT HEADLINES
Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017
The Boy Scouts of America Santa Clarita chapter is pairing with the Veterans Services Collaborative to add a unique twist to its annual fundraiser.
Monday, Aug 14, 2017
The 2017 "Cocktails on the Roof" benefit for the non-profit WiSH Foundation is set for the rooftop of Macy's parking garage at Westfield Valencia Town Center on Friday, August 25 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Monday, Aug 14, 2017
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department's annual "Fun in the Sun" Chili Cook Off benefitting the Special Olympics is set for Saturday, October 14 from 11 a. to 4 p.m.
Monday, Aug 14, 2017
The SCV Sheriff's Foundation and SCV Search & Rescue are holding their 11th annual golf tournament fundraiser at TPC Valencia on Monday, September 18.
Friday, Aug 11, 2017
Hundreds of dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption at the 17th Annual Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair, set for Hart Park in Newhall on Sunday, October 8 starting at 11 a.m.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Farmers and environmentalists are lining up to battle the $16.7 billion California WaterFix tunnels project proposed for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Farmers, Environmentalists Join to Fight California ‘WaterFix’ Project
There's a new Grizzly at Golden Valley High School as Matt Sorensen has been named the school's new head baseball coach.
Matt Sorenson New Head Baseball Coach at Golden Valley
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Sheriff’s deputies are continuing to conduct burglary suppression operations in our valley. Plus, Representative Steve Knight sat down with local law enforcement to discuss the current state and future role of policing in the SCV. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Saugus Union School Board is establishing a committee to advise on the development of policies and procedures for the sale or lease of surplus real property owned by the District.
Saugus Board Creates Surplus Property Advisory Committee
The SCV Sanitation Board has provided an update in its efforts to comply with the state-mandated chloride limit, including finalizing the Recirculated EIR released for public comment in May.
SCV Sanitation Board Finalizing EIR Due August 18
"Music, Volume 1," the latest album by platinum recording artist and CalArts' School of Music namesake Herb Alpert, recently reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.
Herb Alpert’s Latest Album Tops Billboard Jazz Chart
The Castaic Union School District's Governing Board will hold a special meeting on Thursday, August 17 at 5 p.m.
August 17: Castaic Schools Governing Board Special Meeting
MannKind Corp. is moving its corporate headquarters to Westlake Village, after nearly 17 years in Valencia, according to the latest quarterly report it filed with the SEC.
MannKind Corp. Moving from Valencia to Westlake Village
CalArts grads Mark Bradford and Sharon Lockhart headline the Un-Private Collection artist talk at the Orpheum Wednesday night, presented by the Broad museum of contemporary art.
August 16: CalArtians Mark Bradford, Sharon Lockhart at Broad in L.A.
Santa Clarita Valley International School has hired veteran coach Ken Erenberg as athletic director, the school announced today.
Ken Erenberg Named SCVi Athletic Director
The Los Angeles Dodgers took the first of the two-game Interleague series with a 6-1 victory over the White Sox at Dodger Stadium Tuesday night.
Dodgers Soil White Sox 6-1 Tuesday
40 oz. to Freedom arrives in Santa Clarita as part of its anniversary tour at Concerts in the Park at Central Park on Saturday, August 19, with showtime at 7 p.m.
August 19: 40 Oz. to Freedom Rocks Central Park
Senator Scott Wilk, R- Antelope Valley, today submitted a letter to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation during a public comment period regarding proposed regulations that could lead to the early release of dangerous "nonviolent" inmates and diminish victim rights.
Wilk Urges Public Safety When Releasing ‘Non-Violent’ Felons
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations released a statement Wednesday morning, condemning the violence and mourning a death in Charlottesville.
County Commission Mourns Death of Charlottesville Protester
Garrett Hampson, the Cal League’s reigning Player of the Week, slugged a two-run home run to lead the Lancaster JetHawks to a 5-3 win over the San Jose Giants on Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium.
Hampson Stays Hot, Lifts ‘Hawks Over Giants
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested three suspects and seized drugs and weapons in a recent burglary suppression operation.
SCV Deputies Arrest 3, Seize Drugs, Weapons
1947 - Newhall Hardware opens on Spruce Street, now called Main Street [story]
Representative Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, sat down with Santa Clarita law enforcement officials to discuss the current state and future role of policing in the SCV.
Knight, Law Enforcement Officials Hold Roundtable Discussion
From the Facebook page of Shirley Miller, public information officer, social media manager at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station: LASD Carjacker Captured (with some help).
Community Member Tackles Suspected Carjacker
A funeral service for William Clinton Cloyd Sr., a renowned architect and home builder in the Santa Clarita Valley, is being held Wednesday, August 16 in Eternal Valley’s Upper Chapel.
Funeral Services Wednesday for SCV Homebuilder, Architect William Cloyd Sr.
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, deputies are looking for a hit-and-run suspect. Plus, county supervisors have approved a motion to a establish a Blue Ribbon Commission on public safety.. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, August 15, 2017
To kick-start its celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the revival of TMU Theatre Arts, the school is bringing back a favorite.
TMU Celebrates 10th Anniversary Revival of Theater Arts
College of the Canyons is hosting 2017 Professional Development Week — a week of seminars, lectures, and workshops concerning student development and teaching.
COC Professional Development Week Underway
In the fall, College of the Canyons will offer several Associate Degrees for Transfer (AD-T) at the Canyon Country campus, including Business Administration, Psychology, and Sociology.
COC Will Now Offer “Degrees With a Guarantee”
On a motion by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-0, with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining, to establish a “Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety” to explore innovative solutions to criminal justice challenges resulting from statewide reform
Supes Approve Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety
If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to some really bad outcomes, including kidney problems, glaucoma and other eye disorders, foot ulcers, amputation of feet or legs, stroke, diabetic coma, and even death.
Medicare and Your Diabetes | Commentary by Greg Dill
In recent weeks, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) has seen a marked increase in West Nile virus (WNV) activity across its jurisdiction.
County Seeing Increase in West Nile Virus Activity
Arroyo Seco Junior High School will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary on Friday, September 1, with a midday ceremony and festivities.
Sept. 1: Arroyo Seco Junior High Celebrates 50th Anniversary
A veteran investigator of sex crimes in Santa Clarita discussed concerns created by coverage and social media, as part an ongoing KHTS News series.
Social Media Poses New Concerns for Sex Crimes Investigations
On Friday, August 18th, 2017, the California Highway Patrol Newhall Area Office will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County.
DUI Checkpoint Scheduled for Friday
Communication With All Life University and founder Joan Ranquet to present upcoming workshops in learning animal communication, energy healing techniques for animals, and death & the art of dying.
Oct. 6-15: Animal Communication Workshops
Join the VIA Education Foundation and the Valley Industry Association in mentoring today's high school students to prepare them for their future.
VIA School Program Looking for Facilitators to Mentor Students
The city of Santa Clarita will host the 23rd Annual River Rally Cleanup and Environmental Expo on Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Sept. 22-23: Registration Deadline, Annual River Rally Cleanup
In an effort to make its art holdings more accessible to the public, The Broad, a contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles, created The Un-Private Collection, an ongoing series of conversations with artists whose work is part of The Broad collection.
Aug. 16: CalARTS Alum Featured Artist at The Broad
The city of Santa Clarita has released the list of productions currently ongoing.
Reality TV, Student Projects Among Those Currently Filming in SCV