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Non-venomous snakes strike just as fast as venomous

Posted at 10:34 AM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2020-05-11 14:47:33-04

Watch your ankles! Scientists were surprised to learn non-venomous snakes strike JUST AS FAST as deadly vipers.

12 types of non-venomous snakes call Phoenix home. 63 species live across Arizona.  

Watch the video above to see the terrifying fangs on these non-venomous slithering suckers!

A team of scientists set out to question snake speeds in relation to snake evolution and physiology. They found that when a snake strikes, it literally moves faster than the blink of an eye. It whips its head forward so quickly that it can experience acceleration of more than 20 Gs.  

The scientists compared snake speeds in three snake species: the western cottonmouth and the western diamond-backed rattlesnake (Arizona's pride and joy), which are both vipers, and the non-venomous Texas rat snake. 

They put each snake inside a container and inserted a stuffed glove on the end of a stick. They teased the serpent by waving it around until the animal struck. Best part? They recorded it on a high-speed camera. The team tested 6 cottonmouths, 12 rattlesnakes and 14 rat snakes. Several strikes were recorded for each animal.

All of the snakes had lightning-fast reflexes. The rattlesnakes scored the highest measured acceleration, at 279 meters per second squared, with the non-venomous rat snake was right behind at 274 meters per second squared.

Just how fast is that? Formula One race cars accelerate at less than 27 meters per second squared to go from 0 to 60 in just one second. 

Moral of this article? Watch your ankles and keep your pets close to you on walks. Just because the lightning-fast bite won't kill you, doesn't mean it won't still hurt like none other!

MORE: 13 rattlesnake species that live in Arizona!