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Posted by Marty Feldner on November 14, 2002 at 01:15:38:
In Reply to: RE: I don't think so.... posted by WW on November 13, 2002 at 12:03:33:
"Yeah, how many Feldner families are there in AZ, and how many will independently spawn field herpers specialising in rattlers? ;-)"
Well, I checked the phone book and there are three other listings for Feldner. My suspicion, though, is that this is the only family which has sucessive generations of field herpers. Even in this family 2 of the 3 progeny failed to "follow the calling." LOL.
"More seriously, I would actually be interested in the background on the comment, it seems like an interesting bit of behavioural info."
I'm not sure where I heard this piece of information the first time. Probably from "The Source," but I have heard it elsewhere as well. Also, I don't know how many times I have observed where a rattlesnake chooses to position its rattle. Let me state my disclaimer: I see any and all the positions assumed by rattlesnakes in response to a perceived threat as defensive postures. That said, I have observed rattlesnakes in varying levels of "feeling threatened." Often, the position of the rattle starts out in front of the snake's head. As the snake becomes more agitated (and more inclined to strike) the position of the rattle changes; often being moved to the side while still held if front of the snake's head.
It's sort of hard to tell exactly where the rattle is due to the angle of the picture but it is in front, and to the side, of the head. This snake was pretty agitated after it was removed from under a rock. Position in which the snake is found also seems to influence rattle position. This snake was found in a resting coil and rose up, holding the rattle on the side.
I wish I had more pictures of defensive snakes but I can't access most of my rattlesnake pictures which were stored in a format my current operating system doesn't understand. I don't recall Klauber discussing the various positions in which rattlesnakes hold their rattles and I don't know if there is any published work on this subject (none that I can remember reading). This may be one of those behavioral observations which only get noticed by people who spend too much time staring at rattlesnakes. LOL