New Research Reveals Rattlesnakes Are Calmer During Stressful Situations When With A Companion, Much Like Humans

mattkaminski - - illustrative purposes only

With their intimidating warning sounds and venomous bites, rattlesnakes may seem like fearless creatures.

According to new research published in Frontiers in Ethology, rattlesnakes are much like humans in that they are more resilient to stress when they’re not alone.

The team had a hunch that companionship lowered stress among snakes. So, they decided to monitor the heart rates of rattlesnakes as they experienced stressful situations– both with and without another nearby snake.

The experiment revealed how snakes that underwent stressful situations alone witnessed a more significant heart rate spike than the snakes that had company.

“Snakes and reptiles are really interesting because I think they’re often overlooked in their behavior. People are often really afraid of snakes. But they’re not so different from us,” said Chelsea Martin, the study’s co-author.

“They have moms that take care of their children. They’re able to reduce their stress when they’re together. That’s something that we as humans do, too.”

Snakes typically find, capture, and consume their prey alone. Due to this solitary foraging nature, scientists tend to assume that they are not social.

However, past research has pointed to instances of more social snake behaviors– for instance, when male snakes guard female mates.

So, the team set out to study a different aspect of socialization known as social buffering. This term refers to when an animal’s stress levels are reduced when with a companion.

mattkaminski – – illustrative purposes only

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