And a little something to leave with you all as I go off to bed, just in case your arachnophobia hadn’t proliferated enough..
The snake has heat-sensitive pits at either side of its face, which it uses to detect threats — and let’s face it, if you’re close enough for your body heat to be detected, you’re close enough to be considered a threat. Oh, and also what the hell are you doing standing so close to a venomous snake’s face?
These heat-sensitive pits are capable of detecting a threatening presence for hours after death, which means the snake may continue to defend itself, zombie-style. And yes, this applies even if the body is no longer attached. So anyone dumb enough to poke and prod it to assess its level of deadness may quickly find themselves with a sudden increase in the level of pissiness of their pants when the snake’s movement sensors kick into action.
But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom, because a snake’s venom loses its toxicity after its death. Except that’s a total lie, which means that getting bitten by a dead snake can make you just as dead as getting bitten by a living one, but add to the excruciating pain the severe humiliation, because who the hell loses a fight to a dead animal?
read more here, including a story about a man nearly rebitten by said dead snake and some cool but graphic videos :)
Actually, I’m sorry but the heat sensitive pits aren’t for threat detection. Sure, they can and sometimes are used for that but in reality they are simply use to gather information about the surrounding environment. In reality, they are more often used for the pinpointing of prey animals and you don’t even have to be that close. In the dark, as many pit vipers are nocturnal, the snake can “see” the heat signature of its prey to strike it. Another aside, while it is true it only takes one strike to envenomate most rattle snakes (at least the common ones in the US) will miss on purpose or initiate a dry bite. There have been multiple studies done on the unwillingness of rattlers to use venom in their bites, let alone even bite such a large, dangerous creature as ourselves. Many people walk within an arms length of venomous snakes and never even know it.
As far as biting after dead and envenomating, yes it happens. It is a process of the electrical charges still triggering. I’ve never seen a study that shows it happens often. But I have read more than one anecdote of would be rattle snake hunters and poachers getting grazed by the snake’s fangs long after it is dead and paying the price.
Snakes have a bad enough reputation as it is. They don’t need sensationalized and hyped up facts making it worse.
Sorry, I didn’t meant to misinform or sensationalize. Obviously, I don’t study snakes exclusively, I just wanted to post an article that I found interesting; it has three sources- two of which I trust to a considerable degree so I didn’t at any point consider this to be misinformative. If at anytime I post anything you feel or know is totally off or partially off, don’t hesitate to submit any corrections to me! :) I appreciate it!