Myths & Frequently Asked Questions
Aren't baby rattlesnakes more dangerous than adults?
No, they're not... In fact, they're less dangerous! Here's why....
Baby rattlesnakes are little miniatures of their parents in every way, including the size of the glands that produce and store the venom. babies are about the size of pencils at birth (for species like western diamondbacks and Mohaves) and their venom glands are a small fraction of the size of the glands of adults. Think about it: even if a baby injects a lot of its venom, it doesn't have very much. Folks who run the labs that produce and sell snake venom to researchers and pharmaceutical companies laugh at this common belief. The labs don't want little snakes; they want huge ones because big snakes produce a lot more venom!
Baby western rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) basking at their rookery a few days after birth. Their eyes are milky blue because they are preparing to shed the outer (corneal) layer of their skin for the first time.
The two photos below are of venom extractions from an adult male Mohave rattlesnake weighing about a pound (left) and from a three-month-old baby Mohave rattlesnake weighing about 1/2 ounce (right).