Posted by Nancy on 5/15/2018
have heard that rattlesnakes give live birth, but I heard Tom talking about a
rattlesnake having up to 25 eggs. Can you please explain this discrepancy?
Answer: The rattlesnake’s reproductive system is
ovoviviparous. This means that the
female rattlesnake carries her fertilized eggs inside her body for
approximately 90 days. The eggs then
hatch inside her body and she gives live birth to her young. While it is true that a female rattlesnake
may carry up to 25 eggs, only 4 to 10 are born live and she will only reproduce
every 2 or 3 years.
rattlesnakes are about 10 inches long, have venom and fangs and also a small
button on the end of the tail. This
button usually will not rattle. This
makes newborn rattlers dangerous as you will find them in full defensive mode
without hearing a warning. The babies
will strike and are venomous. Use proper snake handling equipment when handling
newborn rattlesnakes. This includes snake tongs, snake hooks and buckets with
will stay in the area of their birth until their first shed. They will also add a button to their tails
and can now make the well-known rattling sound.
The mother rattlesnake does not provide any care for her young and many
will not survive their first year. Many die from predators or hunger. As they
are usually born between August and October the inability to find a suitable
spot for hibernation also causes many deaths.
survive grow rapidly and will shed several times each year. Every time they
shed a button is added to their rattle.
Rattles may also be broken off.
So, despite the old wife’s tale, you cannot age a snake by the rattle.
you now understand more about the rattlesnake’s reproductive system and how
they have both eggs and live births.
This was a good question. Feel
free to ask us more!