UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Why do rattle snakes rattle there tail?
Question Date: 2013-02-14
Answer 1:

Even though rattlesnakes are considered dangerous, they can be just as scared of us as we are of them. We currently believe that the rattle evolved as a means of warning away larger animals. These intruders could be predators of the snake, or just big animals that could accidentally step on a snake lying still.

By rattling their rattle, snakes are able to warn larger animals of their presence and potentially scare away predators. The rattle itself is a cool structure made out of hollow pieces of keratin. Keratin is the same material that makes up your hair and fingernails! The rattlesnakes grow these hollow pieces of keratin at the end of their tail and have special muscles in the end of their tail that shake the rattle very quickly to produce the rattling sound.

Answer 2:

Rattlesnakes use the rattle they have attached to the end of their tail as a warning. They might rattle to let something know they are there or they might use their rattle to alert something that they are about to attack. Either way, when you hear a rattlesnakes rattle it is a very good idea to slowly back away from the animal and leave it alone.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use