I learned something about rattlesnakes this week. I asked why some rattlers don't rattle (something that appears to be more & more common. So the question was posed to an expert. She was doing an environment impact survey in an area scheduled for development. According to her, rattlesnakes rattle as a warning and defensive action (well duh). This served them well when herds of buffalo were approaching. The herd would cut a wide path around the snake and the snake would live to breed with other snakes that rattled when danger approached. The ones that didn't rattle were stomped to death by the herd and therefore couldn't breed other "rattle-less" rattle snakes. Now along comes humans. We kill rattlesnakes that rattle at us because "they're dangerous" thus removing the rattlers from the breeding cycle but the rattlesnakes we don't hear are the survivors and are allowed to breed. According to her, human populated areas will eventually have rattle-less rattlesnakes because of the "selective take" of rattling snakes versus non-rattling snakes.

So maybe killing rattling snakes is not a good thing, maybe killing the quiet snakes is the right move. Hmmmmm.