What Does a Baby Rattlesnake Look Like?

The markings and body shape of adult rattlesnakes makes them easy to spot, and babies have the same markings. They may not appear quite as dramatic, though, because their bodies are smaller and thinner, and they don’t have rattles. A baby rattlesnake carries a more potent venom than an adult, but its bite is probably less dangerous. Nevertheless, you don’t want to be the person who finds out that, in certain circumstances, a baby rattlesnake bite could be fatal, so it’s best to know how to identify one so you can react appropriately.

Although young rattlers are more slender than adults, they still have thick bodies that taper at both ends, and the triangular head is evident. Rattlesnakes make many people think of the desert, but they also live in woodlands as far north as southern Canada and as far east as the Atlantic coast.

Young snakes quickly adopt these behavior patterns, and because they are smaller than adults, they aren’t as easy to notice.

How do you identify a baby rattlesnake?

A rattlesnake’s most distinguishing feature is its rattles, but baby rattlers don’t have rattles until they shed their skin for the first time. Instead, the baby has a little knob – called a button – on its tail. When an adult rattlesnake feels threatened, it coils, rattles and hisses all at the same time.

How can you tell the difference between a baby gopher snake and a baby rattlesnake?

An adult rattlesnake will usually have a nice-sized rattle, so that’s easy, but a young rattlesnake may only have a single button. Look instead for rings at the base of a stubby tail (rattlesnake), or a long tapered tail which ends in a point (gopher snake).

How big is a newborn rattlesnake?

Rattlesnake eggs will stay inside their mother until they hatch. Most of the time there are 8-10 babies born at once and are about 10 inches long. Babies are born venomous but cannot rattle and are often more aggressive than the adults.

Are baby rattlesnakes dangerous?

Baby rattlesnakes are more dangerous than adults.. Not really. It’s a myth that baby rattlesnakes release more venom than adults, said UC Davis conservation biology professor Brian Todd. In fact, babies are typically less dangerous because they have less venom to inject when they bite, Todd said.

Ah, the eternal question of the Bay Area hiker! We have only one medically significant snake species here in the Bay Area and that is the western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), but a few other resident snake species look pretty similar, including the commonly seen and indefatigable gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer). Rattlesnakes will not strike unless cornered or provoked, but its always helpful to know whether that snake sunning itself on the trail might be able to harm you.

Gopher snakes are generalists, more likely to search out prey rather than relying on ambush, and they have a sleeker build really kind of squarish cross section with sides that are almost vertical . Rattlesnakes have heat sensing pits below their eyes which look like a larger pair of nostrils, and vertical cat-like pupils (see photo at top of page) but please dont lean in close to verify this.

No big deal, it wont chase after you just give it a wide berth as you pass by, making sure it has room to escape, and count yourself lucky to have seen such an awesome creature. Keep your yard free of debris, your plants and grass well maintained, and humanely reduce the number of nearby rodents and you wont be giving snakes much reason to stick around.

It was small. It was a soft, delicate gray color with brownish saddle-shaped patches on its back. In its coiled-up position, it would fit in the palm of my hand. But I wasnt about to put it in my hand! At least, not until I was sure of what kind of snake it was. It might be a venomous snake.

I have had lovely, green grass snakes weave themselves through my fingers making a cats cradle of their bodies. They may become fully active during periods of warm mid-winter weather but usually stay in the vicinity of their den from November until March.

Pit Viper Characteristics

Rattlesnakes have two well-defined pits located under their nostrils, which allow them to sense heat and hunt warm-blooded prey. These pits are discernible on baby rattlers as well as adults. Another distinguishing feature of rattlesnakes – and pit vipers in general – is a large, triangular head that tapers quickly into a neck that is narrower than the rest of the body. Although young rattlers are more slender than adults, they still have thick bodies that taper at both ends, and the triangular head is evident.

Shape and Coloration

A feature that distinguishes all species of rattlesnakes from non-venomous snakes is the size and shape of the body. Whereas non-venomous snakes have long, tapered bodies, the bodies of rattlesnakes – even young ones – are comparatively thick in the middle. Young snakes aren’t as long as adults, which can reach lengths up to 8 feet. By comparison, babies can be anywhere from 6 to 12 inches in length – not much longer than a pocket knife.While markings differ, most rattlesnakes have highly distinctive patterns on their backs – often diamond shaped. The colors help the snakes to camouflage themselves, so the markings on desert rattlers are sand colored, while those on timber rattlers resemble leaves. Baby snakes have the same markings as adults, and the patterns may be even brighter and more noticeable.

Habitat and Behavior

Rattlesnakes make many people think of the desert, but they also live in woodlands as far north as southern Canada and as far east as the Atlantic coast. Rattlesnakes like to make dens in rocky crevices, and they hibernate in these dens in colder climates. They come out of their caves on warm days to bask in the sun on rocks or other open places. Young snakes quickly adopt these behavior patterns, and because they are smaller than adults, they aren’t as easy to notice. If you step over a rock without looking, you might easily step on one.