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#163775 - 11/27/06 11:01 AM Rattled
Elizabeth Creith Offline

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 500
Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada
The other day I came across this:

"A study done on people treated for rattlesanke bites revealed that almost 15% of patients claimed theeir attacker was dead. One man shot a snake, cut off the body and waited five minutes after the animal had stopped moving. When he picked up the head, the head lunged and chomped down on his finger. When he grabbed his finger in pain, the head bit him again on the other hand.
The study concluded that a decapitated rattlesnake should be treated like a very short snake."

I compare this to the folk belief that a decapitated snake's head lives until sundown. Cooler temperatures after nightfall would make reptilian action sluggish at best.
I'm amazed that the head could/would still bite that long after decapitation. I know snakes have really simple brains, but wouldn't oxygen deprivation have stopped brain action at that point? How much of a bite is reflex?

#163776 - 11/28/06 07:07 PM Re: Rattled
Zed Offline

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
I can see how the mouth would close resulting in a bite either through reflex or simple mechanics since it is concievable that the head would not die until lack of oxygen stopped the brain and muscle functioning. (Ever see a chicken when it's head is cut off?) But lunging is the body pushing the head so there would have to be body attached or the chump put his hand in the mouth.
A doctor I worked with did a study showing that 90% of rattlesnake bite victims admitted to our ER fit the same pattern. The victim is male, between 12 and 25, if over 16 he has been drinking and the bite is in the hand. The remaining 10% do not involve trying to catch the bloody thing.

#163777 - 11/28/06 07:34 PM Re: Rattled
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
I allus thought it was the body that didn't die until sunset, not the head.


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