Rattlesnakes are the most widely known of the pit
vipers (family Viperidae). They are found throughout the United States and
parts of Canada and account for most poisonous (venomous) snakebites in North
America. They leave one, two, or three puncture marks on the skin, but you
won't always see any marks.
Rattlesnakes can be up to
8 ft (2.5 m) long and
Rattles at the end of the tail. Young snakes may
only have one rattle or "button," which does not make the rattle
Diamond-shaped markings, blotches, or speckles down the
Pitlike depressions behind the nostrils.
triangular head with slit-shaped pupils and fangs.
A single row of
plates or scales on the undersurface of the snake, including the tail.
Symptoms of a rattlesnake bite usually appear from minutes to
hours after a bite and can include:
Severe, immediate pain with rapid
Bruising of the skin.
Changes in heart rate or rhythm.
rubbery, or minty taste in the mouth.
Numbness or tingling around
the mouth, tongue, scalp, feet, or the bite area.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerSean P. Bush, MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine, Envenomation Specialist