Rattlesnakes' sound 'trick' fools human ears

Biskit

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Rattlesnakes have evolved a clever method of convincing humans that danger is closer than they think, say scientists.

 

Abernovo

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It does correspond with my limited experience of being able to hear, but not see, them. I couldn't tell exactly where they were until I stopped and I heard occasional rattles moving away from me. When I was unintentionally moving towards them, I heard them get more intense very quickly, then settle down, but they seemed to be coming from somewhere just ahead. That's when I decided to stop and give them space. I'm nice like that. ;)

I was always told, though, that the rattle was a good warning for deer and bison, which could break a snake's back by stepping on them, but were also susceptible to snakebite. So, I wonder if it might be similar for species other than us. Ungulates are pretty savvy, especially about threats.
 

CTRandall

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While this is a very cool trick, I find it more amazing how the buzzing evokes instant, instinctive fear. I remember the first time I hear one. There was absolutely no mistaking what was making the sound and my heartrate immediately shot up. It's astounding that I can have such a strong reaction to a stimulus I've never encountered before. It's almost like aliens implanted electrodes in my brain and started pressing buttons...
 

Phyrebrat

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I find it more amazing how the buzzing evokes instant, instinctive fear. I remember the first time I hear one. There was absolutely no mistaking what was making the sound and my heartrate immediately shot up. It's astounding that I can have such a strong reaction to a stimulus I've never encountered before.

This^

It really is remarkable. On TV someone always trots out the reason we're scared of spiders which always sounds far more intellectual as opposed to plausible. I'm quite fond of spiders and never get rid of them in my house because although they can freak me out sometimes, I hate flies...

My thing is black scorpions. In Ghana the black emperor scorpions horrified me even though the villagers assured me they only sting when they're young, and are 'friendly'. <ahem> I think it is the boxing gloves that freak me out the most. I just can't...

In Egypt, though, I've saw lots of the tiny white or yellow scorpions (deathstalkers, fat tailed, etc) and they're actually kind of 'cute' to me. But they are deadly. They are more like baby crabs.

Anyway, to get back on topic, or rather to my quote from your post, I really would love to know why these things bother us on an instinctual level (and also why my instinct would end up having me killed off by avoiding the 'wrong' scorpion)
 

Fiberglass Cyborg

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Hah, I'm on to them now. So, if I ever hear a rattlesnake, I'll know to walk a bit closer. Win!

I am more tolerant of spiders after encountering many large and hyperactive cockroaches in India- suddenly the spiders didn't seem so bad. Interestingly, at least some Indians are phobic of the little pink wall-climbing lizards that most Westerners think are "cute."
 

Droflet

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See. All those old westerns weren't a waste of time, after all. One of the first 'bushcraft' lessons I learned: Just leave them alone. As in, 'don't play with the snake'.
I've done that a few times. Quite hastily.
 

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