Data Suggests Rattlesnakes Benefit From Climate Change

Warmer climates are ideal for some species

Rattlesnake sign
As a famed scientist once said: Why did it have to be rattlesnakes?
Zach Savinar/Unsplash

Climate change has, all things considered, not been great for humans. Catastrophic weather, food shortages, wildfires and coastal flooding are all things that people have had to deal with as a result of alterations to the climate. But even as humanity struggles to adapt to climate change, other species are finding it much more enjoyable — like, say, rattlesnakes.

It turns out that rattlesnakes in California have been especially buoyed by the increased temperatures there. As The Guardian reports, Pacific rattlesnakes lack the ability to regulate their bodies’ temperature. Thus, the warmer it is outside, the warmer the snakes are — and temperatures over 80 degrees are especially optimal for them.

A group of scientists researching the behavior of the rattlesnake species in question published a study in the journal Ecology and Evolution. The study’s authors note that “[p]rojected increases of 1 and 2°C in ambient temperature result in an increase in overall thermal quality at both coastal and inland sites.”

“[A]s temperatures rise, it approaches the snakes’ optimal temperature,” Hayley Crowell — one of the study’s authors — told The Guardian. Given that Pacific rattlesnakes can be found in the vast majority of the state of California, that suggests a bright future for the snakes in question — and something else for the rest of us to have a heightened awareness of.

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