Rattlesnake Revenge

Rattlesnake Revenge

“Rattlesnakes can strike you from beyond the grave—and this bizarre form of posthumous revenge is surprisingly common,” reports New Scientist. Of 34 patients treated for rattlesnake bites in Arizona, U.S.A., over an 11-month period, 5 said that the snake attacked them after it had been killed, say two doctors studying the phenomenon. One victim shot a snake, cut off its body below the head, waited for it to stop moving, and then picked up the head. It lunged and bit him on both hands. Previous studies have shown that a severed rattlesnake head “will try to attack objects waved in front of it for up to an hour after death,” the magazine states. Herpetologists believe that this is “a reflex action, triggered by infrared sensors in the ‘pit organ’, a structure between the nostril and eye that detects body heat.” Dr. Jeffrey Suchard warns that a decapitated rattler should be treated as a “very short snake.” “If you really have to touch it,” he said, “I suggest you use a very long stick.”

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