Copulation & a malformed rattle

Just a quick entry regarding two very interesting recent observations:

First, just in case you were wondering what rattlesnakes do when they first warm up after a long winter’s nap… I came across this copulating pair early this afternoon. What you see in the photo (below) is almost all I could see. Most of their bodies were hidden in the deep grass. The elevated tail is the female’s and the male’s tail is wrapped under her cloaca. You’ll notice that neither rattle contains any paint; they were (and remain) unmarked snakes. I didn’t disturb them!Copulation 18Mar15

Also, the most recent animal to be processed and released at EYNC was a small (554 mm/22 inch) female with a deformed rattle (below). These are pretty rare. It looks like a congenital deformity rather than being the result of trauma. One additional segment clings to the terminal one and the snake can make a little buzz but I am sure she is incapable of accumulating a string of segments. The lesson here is that even in the rare event of a deformity or amputation, no rattlesnake has a long tapered tail like California’s harmless snakes.Rattle_CROR50 18Mar15

 

2 thoughts on “Copulation & a malformed rattle”

  1. I’ll tell you about my bite (sorry, no pictures) but more inetrsntieg is what I did and how it helped. I thought it was a mosquito bite between two fingers which is always an itchy nuisance. But it bothered me so much that a day later (we were camping) I heated a pot of water to apply hot compresses to it, the washcloth starting between the fingers and wrapping around my hand, as hot as I could stand, for about five minutes. This works for mosquito bites, the theory being that it deactivates the enzyme responsible for the itch. There’s a hand held battery-operated heater being sold to do that. Heat DOES work; the itch goes away and doesn’t come back.As did the itch in this case. But I didn’t notice until the next day that my hand had been swelling and there was a 1/4 inch clear blister. This was no mosquito, and I never felt a bite. I was brobably bitten while collecting wood for the fire the first afternoon. I’m back home on the third day. Whatever it was has stabilized and I can tell that the swelling (which also involved my forearm) is going down. The blister is still there, is clear (no pus) and has minor redness immediately around the edge of it. I had neither neurological symptoms nor physical symptoms like fever, chills or nausea. The blister suggests to me a digestive enzyme typical of spiders, but the process has apparently been arrested and the hand/arm are now healing.Although the itch from mosquito bites is from an anticoagulant enzyme and spider bites contain a digestive enzyme, this suggests a quick first aid remedy: use hot compresses. Don’t burn yourself, but as hot as you can stand. The digestive enzymes that spiders inject will continue working for quite a while. It’s how spiders eat; they liquefy the innards of their prey so they can suck the liquid out. My experience suggests that hot compresses can deactivate spider enzymes as well as they do mosquito enzymes.I can’t promise this is a sure thing, but having seen some of the tissue destruction spider bites can cause I would think this theory is worth a try. Applying hot compresses for a good amount of time a few times a day is also a good way to quell infection. I’ve completely healed a few close-to-the-surface abscesses with nothing more than the aggressive use of hot compresses.

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