Venom metering by juvenile prairie rattlesnakes, Crotalus v. viridis : effects of prey size and experience

  title={Venom metering by juvenile prairie rattlesnakes,
 Crotalus v. viridis
 : effects of prey size and experience},
  author={William K. Hayes},
  journal={Animal Behaviour},
  • W. Hayes
  • Published 1 July 1995
  • Biology
  • Animal Behaviour
Despite contradictory evidence, it is widely believed that venomous snakes carefully control, or 'meter', the quantities of venom expended when feeding upon rodent prey. The major purpose of this study was to clarify experimentally whether juvenile prairie rattlesnakes inject more venom into larger mice than smaller mice. The subjects (N=7) were videotaped as they struck at small, medium and large mice in each of two separate trials. The quantity of venom expended was measured by enzyme-linked… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis oreganus) Meter Venom When Feeding on Prey of Different Sizes

Slow-motion videotape analyses indicated that behavioral aspects of striking were similar for medium and large snakes and did not differ between size classes of prey, and no behavioral aspect of striking was correlated with the quantity of venom expended.

Metabolic cost of venom replenishment by Prairie Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis viridis).

Venom Expelled by Cottonmouths (Agkistrodon Piscivorus) Across Different Prey Sizes, Prey Taxa, and Snake Body Temperatures

Cottonmouths modify foraging behavior to compensate for both venom resistance in ectothermic prey and decreased performance at lower temperatures, consistent with a thermal constraint on envenomation performance at higher operant temperatures.

Quantifying the venom dose of the spider Cupiennius salei using monoclonal antibodies.

Mechanisms controlling venom expulsion in the western diamondback rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox.

  • B. YoungK. Kardong
  • Biology
    Journal of experimental zoology. Part A, Ecological genetics and physiology
  • 2007
Experimental techniques suggest that variation in these two aspects of the venom delivery system--both in terms of magnitude and temporal patterning--explain most of the observed variation in venom injection.

Factors Influencing Venom Expenditure During Defensive Bites by Cottonmouths (AGKISTRODON PISCIVORUS) and Rattlesnakes (CROTALUS VIRIDIS, CROTALUS ATROX)

It appears that snakes have the intrinsic ability to meter their venom, allocating more during defensive bites and less during predatory bites.

Behavioral and physiological ecology of scorpion venom expenditure: Stinging, spraying, and venom regeneration

The functional aspects of venom from a behavioral perspective are reviewed to develop a comprehensive understanding of the behavioral ecology of venom.

Venom physiology and composition in a litter of Common Death Adders (Acanthophis antarcticus) and their parents.

Sensationalistic journalism and tales of snakebite: are rattlesnakes rapidly evolving more toxic venom?

Costs of venom production in the common death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus).



Factors associated with the mass of venom expended by prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus v. viridis) feeding on mice.

  • W. Hayes
  • Biology
    Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology
  • 1992

The effect of rattlesnake venom on digestion of prey.

The quantities of venom injected into prey of different size by Vipera palaestinae in a single bite.

The size of the prey does not necessarily influence the amount of venom injected by the snake, and in three snakes the mice received three to ten times more than the rats, while in two snakes there was no difference between the amounts injected into either prey.

Venom ontogeny in the Pacific rattlesnakes Crotalus viridis helleri and C. v. oreganus

Analysis of gut contents of museum specimens showed that lizards constitute a major fraction of prey taken by juvenile rattlesnakes, aiding in the digestion of prey in a thermally variable environment, which facilitates efficient handling of lizards and young rodents.

The mass of venom injected by two elapidae: the taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and the Australian tiger snake (Notechis scutatus).

Feeding ecology of the rattlesnake, Crotalus viridis oreganus, in Northern Idaho

The major objectives of this segment of the long term study of Crotalus viridis were to determine the food habits, degree of specialization, and ontogenetic shifts in the food of C. v. oreganus.

Further studies on the mass of venom injected by Elapid snakes.


Body weight stability and higher survival of gravid females (compared to non-gravid females) suggest that their sedentary lifestyle minimizes weight loss during gestation and lessens the risks to predation.

Ontogeny of Fish Capture and Ingestion in Four Species of Garter Snakes (Thamnophis)

Feeding patterns were quite similar across species following a general sequence of capturing fish, maneuvering the jaws to either the head or tail of the fish, and swallowing it, and similarities were also found between T. butleri and T. radix which are believed to be taxonomically related.

Prey-handling and envenomation strategies of prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus v. viridis) feeding on mice and sparrows

Although rattlesnakes are opportunistic feeders, mice and other small rodents comprise the bulk of the diet of many species, and snakes also feed on birds, but to a lesser extent.