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snopes 20 August 2010 07:14 PM

Rattlesnake rattles cause blindness
 
Comment: I have heard that touching a rattlesnakes rattle and then
touching your eyes can make you go blind. Is this true? I can't find much
at all on this, but my husband has heard of it too.

snopes 20 August 2010 07:15 PM

That might be a distinct possibility if the rattle were still attached to a (live) snake at the time.

Silas Sparkhammer 20 August 2010 09:58 PM

I grew up in rattler country -- my b.i.l. loves to call 'em "buzzworms" -- and I've heard a lot of rattler lore that was total hogwash. If you kill one, he "stays alive" till sunset; they won't cross a horse-hair rope, etc. But I'd never heard that one!

Silas

geminilee 20 August 2010 10:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer (Post 1289903)
If you kill one, he "stays alive" till sunset;

I can see where that one came from. Snakes' corpses remain capable of muscle movements for a very long time after death. I knew a man who was bitten by a snake that had been chopped in half for several hours; he reached down to pick it up and the head end had enough reflex muscle reaction to come around and get him*. I don't know why it is "sunset" especially, but the idea that they may stay "alive" for some time after being killed is not hard to explain.

*Not a hard or accurate bite, just tagged him with a fang, but it was enough to need a dose of antivenin.

franjava 24 August 2010 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snopes (Post 1289817)
Comment: I have heard that touching a rattlesnakes rattle and then
touching your eyes can make you go blind. Is this true? I can't find much
at all on this, but my husband has heard of it too.

Salmonella? Reptiles and amphibians are notorious for carrying that unfriendly bacteria. Can salmonella even cause blindness? That's all I can think of. The idea of touching a rattle then touching your eyes and it causing blindness would mess up the taxidermy and souvenir industries. Having these so close to your eyes could be dangerous!!!1! (Frankly, I think they're ugly, but whatever.)

Loyhargil 05 September 2010 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by geminilee (Post 1289909)
I can see where that one came from. Snakes' corpses remain capable of muscle movements for a very long time after death.

Not to mention, they aren't alwas dead when you think they are.

My brother once ran over two rattlesnakes with his pickup down by the river. He threw them in the back of the truck and brought them home to show Mom and I.

He didn't tell us what he had. He just came up to the house and said, "Come here, you have to see this!"

We followed him to his truck, he reached in, and pulled out the two rattlesnakes, by the tails.

My mom, a good Irish girl, was terrified.

Moreso when the not-actually-dead snakes started swinging up to bite my brother.

Thankfully, my brother figured out what was going on before the got him. At that point, he began swinging his arms like windmilld, bashing the poor snakes' heads on the driveway. Once he had then sufficiently knocked silly, he set them down and, erm, well took care of things properly for all of our healths.

My brother made a hat band and rearview mirror rattle hangers out of the remains, of course.

Ah, farm life. No other place are you likely to see a man windmill snakes to death on a driveway.

Wild Redhead 05 September 2010 02:25 PM

I lived in rattlesnake country too. I have 13 rattles. One of the snakes actually chased my ex-Moron's son. If you are hearing a rattle you pretty much have to plan on killing the snake. The fun part is you can't really shoot them as you have to worry about the bullet/shot ricocheting off of the ground/rock. It can get a bit...exciting, dealing with a rattlesnake that close to you.

I was out scouting with my ex-MORON just before hunting season (he wasn't an ex at that time) and I heard a rattle. He didn't hear it. I told him I was sure there was a rattlesnake very close by. He insisted there wasn't as he couldn't hear it. I started looking around and about a foot from where he was standing a rattler was coming out of it's hole. He couldn't hear it as the end with the rattle was still under ground. :eek: After that he listened to me when I said I heard something.

crocoduck_hunter 05 September 2010 04:32 PM

What, not shotguns in your family, Red?

That's the most popular method of dealing with them around here, despite the fact that the only species native to this area, the Pacific Rattlesnake, is not aggressive.

Eddylizard 05 September 2010 04:41 PM

The most popular way of dealing with them in western movies is to whip out a Colt 45 revolver and take them out with one shot, barely pausing long enough to take aim. I assume this is unrealistic. :D

Loyhargil 05 September 2010 10:06 PM

Most popular way of dealing with them in my family (windmill technique never caught on) is a garden hoe. Usuall because my mom or grandma found then in the garden.

Wild Redhead 05 September 2010 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter (Post 1300802)
What, not shotguns in your family, Red?

We all had shotguns but never took them deer hunting. When we were camping we were usually carrying fishing poles. Let me tell you...a fishing pole isn't much use when it comes to rattlesnakes.

You're right, the ones in the PNW really aren't aggressive most of the time. They just really don't like being surprised or almost stepped on.

Running over one is no guarantee that you killed it either. Never never ever jump out of the truck to see if it's dead. They get really pissed off when they've been run over and it doesn't kill them. :eek:

CenTex 07 September 2010 09:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eddylizard (Post 1300806)
The most popular way of dealing with them in western movies is to whip out a Colt 45 revolver and take them out with one shot, barely pausing long enough to take aim. I assume this is unrealistic. :D

Shotguns are much easier as you don't have to have as precise an aim, and the pellets don't cause much collateral damage.

Silas Sparkhammer 08 September 2010 12:26 AM

I've killed rattlers with a .22 rifle, or with a hoe, or a couple times with nothing but a big rock.

One of my fondest memories of my mother is her crouching low, wearing cowboy boots and a frilly pink nightie (and nothing else) and popping away at a buzz-worm with a .22 pistol.

But...out here, we do pause to aim! Real cowboys don't shoot from the hip!

Silas (works in computers, now, thank you...)

Eddylizard 08 September 2010 08:29 AM

Yes I was just having a pop at the movies.

CenTex 08 September 2010 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer (Post 1302163)
I've killed rattlers with a .22 rifle, or with a hoe, or a couple times with nothing but a big rock.

One of my fondest memories of my mother is her crouching low, wearing cowboy boots and a frilly pink nightie (and nothing else) and popping away at a buzz-worm with a .22 pistol.

But...out here, we do pause to aim! Real cowboys don't shoot from the hip!

Silas (works in computers, now, thank you...)

You and me both. I do find that rifles and pistols (and shotguns for that matter) tend to work much better when you take careful aim.

To the OP, I always heard growing up that when the snakes den up, they occasionally drip venom on one another. Such venom will get on the rattles (which people will keep after killing the snake) and if you touch them you will get dried venom on your hands, which you could tranfer to sensitive parts of your body such as your eyes. I have no idea if any of this is true. I am not a herpetologist, nor do I play one on TV

AnglRdr 08 September 2010 02:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wild Redhead (Post 1300772)
If you are hearing a rattle you pretty much have to plan on killing the snake.

Or leaving the vicinity, which always worked for me, who grew up in rattlesnake country.

Rattlesnakes aren't crazed predators and aren't likely to chase you in order to bite you.

Wild Redhead 08 September 2010 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnglRdr (Post 1302575)
Rattlesnakes aren't crazed predators and aren't likely to chase you in order to bite you.

I have seen rattlesnakes go after people on four separate occasions for no reason at all. It doesn't happen often but it does happen.

Silas Sparkhammer 08 September 2010 06:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eddylizard (Post 1302443)
Yes I was just having a pop at the movies.

Oh, no worries! I didn't think that you thought anyone really shot the way they do in the movies!

(One of my favorite westerns is "El Dorado" with John Wayne and James Caan. Caan's character is not accustomed to guns, and has one or two very amusing accidents with his!)

Silas

crocoduck_hunter 08 September 2010 11:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wild Redhead (Post 1302584)
I have seen rattlesnakes go after people on four separate occasions for no reason at all. It doesn't happen often but it does happen.

Could be territorial. Western Diamondbacks have an aggressive reputation and have been known to chase people over short distances, though there isn't a snake alive that can catch a running human (especially a human who's motivated by the poisonous snake that's in pursuit).

CenTex 09 September 2010 06:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter (Post 1303024)
...motivated by the poisonous snake...

Venomous. Sorry, personal munchkin of mine. I have heard "poisonous snakes" all my life, and it make me cringe a bit everytime.


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