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Rattlesnakes develop acoustic mechanism to 'trick the human ear'

Rattlesnakes develop acoustic mechanism to ‘trick the human ear’

  • Matt McGrath
  • Environment correspondent, BBC

photo released, Getty Images

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Snakes vigorously shake their tail to make a sound like a bell when they sense any danger approaching them

Scientists say rattlesnakes have developed a clever way to deceive humans and convince them that danger is closer to them than they think to get away from it.

These snakes move their tail forcefully to make a sound like a bell when they sense any danger, but they can suddenly modify this sound to a much higher frequency, so the sound is stronger and frightens the person from a distance.

In tests, the rapid change in voice made people who were next to the snake think it was much closer than it actually was.

Researchers say this mechanism evolved to help snakes avoid being trampled.