Timber Rattlesnake Essay Research Paper Crotalus horridusTheTimber

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Timber Rattlesnake Essay, Research Paper Crotalus horridus The Timber Rattlesnake By Arthur Ebbinger Professor: Mr. Marquess Biology: 1010 Date: 11 August 1999 The following is a brief description, as well as know characteristics commonly associated with the Crotalus horridus snake family. The Crotalus horridus is commonly referred to as the timber rattlesnake, or in more indigenous terms, the canebrake or banded rattlesnake. Its genus name is a translation from the Greek word krotalon, which means rattle. The species is a Latin word meaning “standing on end.” (Breen, 1974). Together they illustrate the rattler’s stalking posture. The Crotalus horridus is a member of the Animalia kingdom, the Chordata Phylum, the Reptilia Class, with a subclass from the Lepidosaura. The

Crotalus horridus is also a member of the Viperidae Family. The Crotalus horridus will vary in size from 35-75 inches, and alter in their color patterns. The northern variety sports a unique color combination of yellow-brown and/or gray to black, and of course each snake has its own distinctive crossbands. The southern variety is quite similar to that of the northern in its color patterns, however, the crossbands displayed are tan or reddish-brown. The Crotalus horridus is a member of the pit viper (Viperidae) family as previously mentioned, which means heat is distinguished or sensed from apertures at the tip of the nostrils. The snakes are equipped with large recurved fangs, resting at the top of the mouth, and are specifically intended for liberal venom injection. The snakes

are outfitted with a fascinating appendage that produces a buzzing sound when the tail is vibrated. Ironically, newborn snakes begin with only a single segment of tail. “This portion is commonly referred to as the button.” (Breen, 1974). The young adapt rather quickly with a second segment within the first ten days of life. A new segment is added for each shedding of skin. The Crotalus horridus female usually mate in fall and give birth every two to three years, normally around the August – October time frame. She will produce anywhere from 5-17 young. “These newly born snakes will average between 10-13 inches in length.” (Campbell, 1997). Generally, the female is fully developed within 3-4 years and capable of reproduction at this time, if she falls within an

interesting ratio. The fact is most female rattlesnakes have a 6:1 reproduction to non-reproduction ratio. The Crotalus horridus is considered a late developing, long-lived animal, and constrained by short periods of activity. These periods of activity coincide with regional seasonal variations. The habitat of the Crotalus horridus extends from as far as New Hampshire and Vermont to the northern tip of Florida and west to central Texas and southeastern Minnesota. Depending upon the geographical location, the Crotalus horridus can be found in solitary areas along rocky highlands, wooded hillsides, swamps, and canebrake thickets. Throughout the winter months the snakes will hibernate, normally amongst other snakes sharing heat produced by their bodies. These snakes are more active

during daylight hours in spring and fall, but change over to evening during the heated summer months. The Crotalus horridus normal dietary intake includes small creatures, such as mice, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. The snakes will wait motionless when prey approaches in order to ambush its unexpected meal. The snakes venom is used during the procurement of prey, and is quite adaptive in nature as it serves multiple purposes. The venom injected not only kills the prey, but assists in the digestive process as the meal is consumed. The venom is considered a deterrent of potential enemies. The snakes venom consists of complex proteins that quickly act upon the central nervous and circulatory systems. Interesting is the future possibilities of use from a medical standpoint.