De­fen­sive rat­tlesnakes

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - SKIN -

Rat­tles serve as a highly ef­fec­tive warning sys­tem. They are made up of seg­ments of ker­atin at the end of the snake’s tail, which knock against each other to pro­duce a buzzing sound when the rep­tile holds its tail ver­ti­cally and vi­brates the rat­tle. The sound is pro­duced at around 50Hz, which means that in or­der to in­tim­i­date any un­sus­pect­ing predator, the tail needs to shake at about 50 times per sec­ond.

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