Rattlesnake populations may explode due to climate change

Due to climate change, the number of rattlesnakes may increase sharply. According to a study This was carried out by researchers from California Polytechnic State University and two conservation organizations.

“We are accustomed to climate change research that predicts negative effects on wildlife — it’s interesting to see these snakes have such different findings,” said Hayley Crowell, a PhD student in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan . Caltech News.

Rattlesnakes are found throughout the United States and are most common in the Southwest. According to the National Wildlife Federation, these snakes are vipers, which means they can hunt even in total darkness, thanks to the heat-sensitive organs on their heads. Although shy, if they feel threatened, they will attack without hesitation. In some cases, bites can cause extreme pain and even death, depending on the size of the snake and the victim’s medical assistance.

Like all reptiles, rattlesnakes are cold-blooded animals. They rely on external heat sources (such as the sun) for warmth.

Published in a scientific journal Ecology and evolution In May of this year, the study showed that certain species may actually benefit from a small but significant increase in environmental temperature that will occur in the next 50 years.As the temperature rises between some predictions 2.5 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in the next century, the number of active months and hours per day for rattlesnakes will increase, providing them with more breeding opportunities.

The researchers wrote: “Specifically, snakes will be able to overwinter earlier this year and then wait a few months before hiding again.”

In addition, rattlesnakes are unlikely to suffer hunger or hunger. Although rodents are expected to be negatively affected by climate change and may reduce the number of prey for top predators such as rattlesnakes, researchers have found that pit vipers are so effective in channeling their energy that adult males can earn 500 or 600 calories per year. . According to a press release from the California Institute of Technology, this is about half the size of a “big burrito” by comparison.

“Rattlesnakes require very little energy to survive,” Crowell told Caltech News.

The results of the study may predict an increased incidence of human encounters and bites from rattlesnakes. In 2019, the science news media Stat reported that as the scope of snake activity expands, snake bites are on the rise.

Weekly newspaper Crowwell was contacted for further comment, but did not respond to complications in time.

As the temperature rises due to climate change, the number of rattlesnakes may increase in the next few years. Above, a captive rattlesnake tastes the air at the Butantin Institute in Sao Paulo.
Caldesosa/AFP/Getty Images

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