Most people would never consider the notion that rattlesnakes have unique personalities just like other living creatures. Over the past 25 years, I have been looking very close at the body language, eyes, temperament, and overall personalities of the many rattlesnakes I have handled and encountered. Here are some of the traits I have found.
Most rattlesnakes are mellow around humans if not provoked or startled. All they want to do is be ignored and left alone. The rattlesnake may be the most misunderstood creature on the planet. Their quiet demeanor is an adaptation to conserve energy. Fossil records provide evidence that rattlesnakes have been on Earth 3.5 million years, yet what do we really know about them?
In the high desert area around Joshua Tree, we have several species. North Joshua Tree has three of the most common: The Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus Scutulatus), the Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus Mitchelli), and the Sidewinder (Crotalus Cerastes).
Why do some people fear them? Fear is basically a lack of knowledge, understanding and exposure. Why do some believe they are aggressive? The simple answer, for the most part, is that some rattlesnakes are curious. So curious that a Mojave came flying at me one afternoon, a foot off the ground, like a cobra and bonked its head into my leg. No bite, just Do Snakes have Personalities? a bonk, and then it sniffed my boots. I never felt for one second, I was in any danger, nor did I move. By learning to remain perfectly still, this encounter, for me, was exciting and rewarding. Act natural in nature, and nature will return the favor. Just watch where you are stepping and reaching!