Learning Links: Rattlesnakes—Learner Page

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When do you think a rattlesnake would be most likely to bite? Do you think it would bite anything it could, or would it only bite certain kinds of things?


Rattlesnakes have a limited supply of venom. If they use it all up, they will have to wait for their bodies to make more before they can catch any food. Do you think it would be a good idea for a rattlesnake to use its venom and bite a person? Why or why not?


Why does a rattlesnake rattle? We know they sometimes rattle when people are around, but would they rattle when other types of animals are around? Try to list some things that might come near a rattlesnake according to whether the snake would rattle or not.




Play the game according to the instructions the facilitator gives you. You could also play with your friends, where one of you plays the role of the facilitator, once you understand how to play. How good were you at knowing whether to rattle or strike? Do you think you would do better if you had more time to decide what to do?


Do you think a rattlesnake always has plenty of time to decide whether to strike or rattle? When do you think it might be surprised and have to make a fast decision? Do you think rattlesnakes always make the best decision? If a rattlesnake bit a person who suddenly sat on it, do you think it is fair to kill the snake?


Many people who are bit by rattlers receive "dry bites". This means that the snake struck and bit, but it did not inject any venom. Why might this happen?

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Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.