The Mexican Green Rattler (Crotalus basiliscus) is a venomous pit viper, native to western Mexico. It is a snake, and a reptile.
The Mexican Green Rattler has a plump body with brown or grey scales. Its scales are diamond (rhombus) shaped with light edges. Its underbelly is creamy-white. It has a large, distinct grey-brown head. Its tail is dark grey with few markings. On the tip of the tail is its cream-coloured rattle.
The rattle makes a loud rattling noise to scare away predators. The rattle has hollow interlocking segments made of keratin (like toe nails and finger nails). The contraction of the “shaker” muscles in the tail causes tail vibration, which makes the rattling sound.
This is one of the largest rattlesnake species. It can grow to about 150 centimetres (59 inches) long.
It prefers tropical treeless plains, covered with short grass, cacti, and thorny bushes, where it feeds on small animals, such as birds, lizards, and rodents (rats and mice).
The two pits on its face is used to detect the heat from animals – especially its prey. The heat from animals is called thermal radiation. It also has two fangs which contain venom. When the Mexican Green Rattler bites an animal, muscles on the side of its venom glands contract, which pumps toxin into the animal.
The female Mexican Green Rattler does not lay eggs, like most snakes. She has eggs inside her body, and she gives birth to live young. This is called ovoviviparous.
[Location of photographs: Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM