Rattlesnakes or Crolatus describe a family of highly venomous pit vipers, which comprises a total of 29 species and is native to the Americas only. The rattlesnake is widespread in many parts of North, Central and South America, where it mainly inhabits steppes and deserts from Canada to the United States to Argentina. They feel most comfortable in dry and rocky landscapes with lots of scrub, but some species are also found in swampy landscapes and wooded areas. All rattlesnakes share their inner tail tail rattle, which they also owe their name. This part of the body is formed from a skin that is not shed during the moulting and gradually becomes horny. With each new molt, the rattlesnake forms an additional rattle member. The tail rattle serves as a warning signal, which produces a rattling noise in trembling body movements and extremely dangerous in dangerous situations by the tail tip held vertically. The rattling protects the snake from being trampled by large animals. Even predators are thus beaten to flight. Depending on the species and its range rattlesnakes vary greatly in appearance and size. The skin appears in various patterns and may be brown, black, gray, yellow or greenish.
The largest representative of this family of poisonous snakes is the diamond rattlesnake, which can reach lengths of up to two and a half meters and a weight of up to ten kilograms. However, most rattlesnakes are barely a hundred centimeters long, some species are only thirty centimeters long. Rattlesnakes are day or nocturnal depending on the climatic conditions of their habitat and feed mainly on small mammals such as rats, chipmunks, rabbits or mice. Their prey kills these Lauerjäger with a bite in the neck. The highly potent neurotoxin enters the blood stream immediately, causing paralysis and reduced movement of the victim. The relatively long fangs of the rattlesnake can regrow elsewhere. Sometimes rattlesnakes therefore have four teeth at the same time. Despite their dangerous teeth, many rattlesnakes fall victim to coyotes, birds of prey, kingsnakes and foxes, which the poison can not harm. After mating, which usually takes place in spring, and after a gestation period of 150 to 200 days, up to 20 juveniles are born alive. Rattlesnakes reach a life of up to thirty years, depending on the species.