Monday, July 25, 2016

The Key to Sudden Death

Good afternoon everybody!

Today I would like to look at a key titled "Key to Sudden Death." In reality, this key isn't really a key at all, but part of  a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake carcass. With all the wildlife sightings in the area recently, it only seemed fitting.

The Western Diamond Rattlesnake, commonly known as the Texas Diamondback Rattlesnake lives in Texas and Mexico. It is the most common venomous snake in the area. This snake is a dusty brown color with darker brown diamond pattern down its back and white rings near the end of the tail. Western Diamond Rattlesnakes are pit vipers. This means that they can sense differences in temperature from the animals around them, making hunting incredibly easy. This snake is a generalist, which means that they are not very picky about where they live. As long as it's warm, they'll stay. These snakes hibernate during the winter and mate during the fall. They oftentimes give birth to about twelve children after a seven month gestation period. The young only stay with their mother one hour after birth and are fully capable of delivering a fully venomous bite the moment they are born.

The venom that the Western Diamond Rattlesnake produces destroys tissues and disables their prey. The venom also contains cytotoxins and myotoxins that destroys cells and stops cardiovascular function. General local effects include pain, heavy internal bleeding, severe bleeding, muscle damage, blistering and necrosis. The venom also causes hemorrhagins, dizziness, and convulsions. Although the snake only needs to bite its prey once in order to kill it, it is usually not enough to kill a human. Mortality rate of untreated bites from this snake is between 10-20%

This key was donated to the Key Room by Lillian and Fred Proctor.

Until next time!