Rattlesnakes cannot jump because they do not have knees that serve as a springboard. What they do is strike and extend their bodies forward at blazing speeds.
A rattlesnake strike appears more like a lunge than a jump and their bodies are rarely fully off the ground. Furthermore, because rattlesnakes are terrestrial (ground dwelling), you won’t find them jumping out of trees, either.
Rattlesnakes have to be grounded to be able to strike, which many people call “jump” because it looks like the snake is jumping.
Do Rattlesnakes Jump at People?
Yes, they do, but not as dogs do. Rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive. However, they understand their power and will strike if provoked.
Typically, rattlesnakes will jump at people if hurt, cornered, or handled. Given enough room, a rattlesnake will retreat. Rattlesnakes will use their rattle to warn a human being or predator.
When do they strike? Rattlesnake bites typically occur in Spring. The temperature draws the snake out of its hiding place to scout and hunt for food. Contrary to popular belief, rattlesnakes do not really like super-hot weather.
Starting each spring, rattlesnakes will come out and look for mates. It is the period where they would typically startle humans. It is not unusual for these snakes to hang around on trails or backyards during spring.
As such, people get jumped by rattlesnakes more often at this time of the year. Rattlesnakes bite 8,000 humans every year, and this results in a range of 10 to 15 casualties.
Rattlesnakes will not hunt people, and there are even videos online showing rattlesnakes remaining calm despite a person being around.
Related: Do Snakes Crawl Backwards?
How many Feet can a Rattlesnake Jump?
Even if they cannot jump, they can strike a fair distance. The typical distance of what a rattlesnake can strike is one-half of the snake’s length. Some rattlesnakes can only cover a distance of 1/3 of its body.
If one will do the calculation, a 3-foot rattlesnake can strike 18 inches from the ground. The most common mistake that human beings make is they miscalculate the rattlesnake’s length. It is difficult to make presumptions about the snake’s length because it is coiled before it strikes.
There are about 33 species of venomous vipers. Some of these can grow up to eight feet. If one meets a rattlesnake that is eight feet in length, then it is safe to assume that this rattlesnake can lunge up to four feet.
This distance is dangerous. Humans typically jump backwards if they see a rattlesnake jump or lunge. However, a human cannot jump four feet backward. The best approach to a rattlesnake lunging is to never get in its way.
Another factor that many fail to consider is the trajectory. A rattlesnake making a downward strike can reach father because of gravity. On steep slopes, a snake may lose its grip as it strikes, therefore making it lunge forward at farther distances.
Generally speaking, a downward lunge is more dangerous as the snake can lose its control and grip from the ground. People must not test the snake’s striking or jumping capacity, as one wrong assumption can be fatal.
Read More: 6 Ferocious Snakes that Eat Rattlesnakes!
When do Rattlesnakes Jump at People?
Rattlesnakes behave like all snakes. They do not like confrontations. What makes rattlesnakes different, however, is that they typically do not run away.
Rattlesnakes will use its rattle to warn anything that it considers a threat. The snake can wiggle its rattle 50 times per second—this should be more than enough to warn any human and notice that there is danger.
The right approach is to leave the rattlesnake alone. Once it has made its warning, a human or animal must be sensible enough to go away. If the threat comes closer, the rattlesnake is going to strike.
Unlike a cobra, the rattlesnake does not stand on its body to warn somebody of a strike. However, it may coil back, like as if its body is a spring.
One can observe this kind of behavior as the rattlesnake is making its iconic noise. The attack from a rattlesnake always starts with the noise.
There is one person on YouTube who wanted to show how rattlesnakes behave. He went after 50 rattlesnakes and was able to prove that most of them would flee. Some, however, strike the moment he put his hook close to the snake.
Can you Outrun a Rattlesnake?
There is no single consensus on the speed of rattlesnakes. Generally, rattlesnakes travel between 2 and 3 miles per hour.
Therefore, a rattlesnake is not fast enough to chase a human being. Humans can run up to 28 miles per hour. As such, the average human can easily outrun a rattlesnake.
Rattlesnakes also travel in short bursts. They typically glide slowly as they travel. What really matters is to avoid getting too close.
Also, a rattlesnake catching or running after a human has no proof. Stories abound, but there certainly is no evidence for it.
Can a Rattlesnake Strike Without being Coiled?
A rattlesnake does not have to be in a coiled position to strike. For as long as its body is on the ground, it can use the ground to propel itself forward.
One mistake that many people make is the assumption that a rattlesnake will not be able to lunge unless it is coiled. Many people think that a rattlesnake can only lunge forward if the body is in a springlike position.
This could not be farther from the truth. There are videos showing rattlesnakes moving forward and then suddenly doing an about-face to attack. It is indicative of its flexibility and agility to strike from different angles and positions.
Rattlesnakes cannot technically jump. They do not have the legs and joints to make jumping possible. They do, however, lunge at prey. They do this by coiling and pushing themselves forward.
Rattlesnakes can lunge up to one half of their body length. Therein lies the danger, as it is difficult to assess how long a snake is if it is coiled.
Rattlesnakes are not always aggressive. However, they will stand their ground and strike if they feel threatened. Humans must leave rattlesnakes alone and call the appropriate authorities to get rid of them and put them back in the wild.
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