Rattlesnakes are a venomous viper with an interesting adaptation. A rattle on their tail that makes a loud and distinctive noise when it shakes it. But although this is their most noticeable feature it isn’t all there is to know about them. For instance, what do rattlesnakes eat?
What do rattlesnakes eat?
Rattlesnakes are carnivores (meat eaters) that eat a variety of creatures such as amphibians, insects, birds, and even other reptiles. Their diet varies wildly based on location and opportunity. As rattlesnakes often live in swampy grasslands, it’s their habit to prey on anything of the right size that also inhabits these wet areas. This makes the list pretty extensive as many animals stay near sources of water.
A Complete List of Food Rattlesnakes Like to Eat?
- Bird eggs
- Small Crocodiles
What do baby rattlesnakes eat?
As any snake can only eat creatures about the size that they themselves are around, it limits the prey that baby rattlesnakes can go after. They mostly survive on very small lizards, snakes, and insects. There’s a rumor that baby rattlesnakes have a more potent venom than their parents and that they’re more unpredictable. This isn’t true. They’re almost exactly the same as their parents even down to their hunting methods, they’re just smaller.
How Do Rattlesnakes Hunt for Prey?
The rattlesnake is whats called an ambush predator. They can lie in the same spot for days at a time and then strike out at lightening speed at unsuspecting prey as they pass by. As a venomous snake their method of hunting involves them injecting their prey with venom upon the initial bite and waiting for them to be paralyzed (it usually doesn’t take long) before eating. The 4-6 inch fangs are hollow and hold the venom in them like a medical needle. When the teeth are met with the pressure of the contact when it bites, it releases the venom automatically. It rarely needs to strike more than once.
How do rattlesnakes eat their prey?
Rattlesnakes, like all snakes, eat their prey whole. Their jaws are designed to come unhinged so it can fit over animals that are larger than their mouth. They start head first and slowly work the creature down to it’s digestive track with a series of squeezing muscles that constantly pull the meal lower with each flex. When it reaches the digestive track the juices being breaking it down. When the meal is fully digested, which can take varying times depending on the size of the meal, they go after something else and the process starts over.
How Often Do Rattlesnakes Eat?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the size of the rattlesnake and the size of the last meal. Large adult rattlesnakes can go 2 weeks to a month between meals if they have to, while baby rattlers can only go one to two weeks between meals. But just because they can go that long doesn’t mean they do. If an adult rattlesnake has a meal that it appropriate to it’s size (not to big not too small) it can be digested in a matter of days thus allowing the rattlesnake to eat again if it comes across something. There are a lot of variables at play.
What eats rattlesnakes?
The most common predator of rattlesnakes are birds of prey. Things like hawks, owls, eagles and so on. But they face threats from land dwelling predators as well. Foxes, coyotes, and unexpectedly domestic cats are all also issues. And even though we rarely eat them, one of the most prolific threats to rattlesnakes are human beings.
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