Rattlesnakes without rattlers?

That is what researchers have found in South Dakota where the prairie rattlesnake is the only venomous snake to be found.

Over the past couple of years, Terry Phillipp (of Reptile Gardens in Rapid City( has noticed many rattlesnakes with what he calls “curly-Q” tails.  Imagine the tail on a pig, and you’ll get the idea. Phillipp says the tail muscles on these snakes have atrophied, and accordingly, can’t move the rattle. Rattlesnakes can camouflage themselves well, and, if they’re not heard, they’re likely not killed.

“And so the snakes that have that genetic defect—it is a genetic defect—those are the ones that are surviving,” Phillipp says. “They then reproduce, and they pass along that genetic defect to their offspring.”

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Source: Kingdom Zoo