It is probably something most of us never wonder, but for one little boy, there was burning question he just had to answer: What, exactly, is happening when a rattlesnake shakes its tail?
Thanks to the internet, Ebay, YouTube, the Phoenix Zoo, and a father and son team, we now have an answer. And you might be surprised at what you will learn when you watch this video. But be forewarned: Herpetophobes may be more than a little freaked out by the following video.
Dan and his boy Lincoln have their very own YouTube channel where they try to discover “What’s Inside.” In fact, that is what their program is called.
In this clip, they decide to answer the age old question of how a rattlesnake makes that rattling sound.
It Begins with a brief segment from the Phoenix Zoo’s herpetarium, where Dan and lincoln show us a bunch of snakes and share some pretty interesting information, like the fact that there are thirty six distinct species of rattlesnake in the world. By the way, all are deadly venomous. There is no such thing as a safe rattlesnake. They can also shake their rattles as fast as fifty times a second, and sustain the action for up to three hours.
Also, many people believe that the more rattles, or buttons as they are commonly referred to, the older the snake. However, that is not necessarily the case. While they do add new buttons every time they shed their skin, they can also lose them due to close calls with predators or other accidents.
Talk about a ‘whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on!’
Next, they show us a real life rattlesnake tail that they purchased off of eBay from “a guy in Texas.”
After some pretty hefty box cutter work, they finally figure out what causes the tail to rattle.
As it turns out, there are no beads or anything inside the tail segments like you would expect to find in maracas. Instead, the hollow segments simply rattle against each other, which creates the distinctive, and terrifying warning sound.
This video has been watched more than sixty nine thousand times, and a lot of people have taken to social media to comment on it, saying things like:
“I love snakes. any kind of snakes.”
“Love how this kid looks at his dad. He thinks he’s the coolest guy ever!”
“I thought there would be small beads or something in it to make that sound so it’s just layers that hit against each other for the rattle then?”
“You were at the Phoenix zoo? I can’t BELIEVE I didn’t bump into you. I was there!”
“Here is a fact: the rattle is made from the same stuff that finger nail is made from.”
“you can tell how many times a rattlesnake has shed its skin by how many individual rattle segments are on the tale of the snake. this is because when a rattlesnake sheds its skin the end part hardens to create the rattle. the noise you hear from the tail is each rattle part hitting together at a high speed ( BTW I’m only 14 and I’m keeping 18 snakes at the moment and I have read up on rattlesnakes for when I can get one of my own so this is just my knowledge of the rattlesnake).”
Have you ever encountered a rattlesnake in the wild? Share your story with us here.