Jonathan Crowe

My Correct Views on Everything

Rattlesnakes’ Family Ties

Baby Shower .  .  . sort of The social life of snakes, such as it is, is not generally well understood. There are some tantalizing hints that there may be more going on than we thought. Pregnant live-bearing snakes, such as rattlesnakes, have been known to aggregate at basking sites, and there are reports of what might be called parental protective behaviour among rattlers. To which might be added new research showing that timber rattlesnakes tend to prefer the company of close relatives: pregnant females aggregating at basking sites were often found in the company of their sisters, daughters and mothers; juvenile snakes seem to prefer their siblings’ company to that of other snakes as well. Presumably they’re identifying one another by scent. This is exciting stuff, if true. Image credit: Richard Bonnett (CC licence).