Distance traveled by mice after envenomation by a rattlesnake (C. viridis)

Research paper by Karen Estep, Thomas Poole, Charles W. Radcliffe, Barbara O’Connell, David Chiszar

Indexed on: 05 Nov '13Published on: 05 Nov '13Published in: Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society


Adult mice (Mus musculus, C3H) envenomated by adult prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) traveled an average of 185.6 cm in an open field prior to becoming immobilized (78 sec). The range of distances traveled by the 20 envenomated mice in this study was 0-676.5 cm. These distances give an indication of the extent of the trailing task that confronts a prairie rattlesnake under natural conditions. Hence, laboratory studies of trailing behavior in rattle-snakes should use trails of at least 180-200 cm if results are to have ecological validity. Of course, data from additional strains of rodents envenomated by additional species of rattlesnakes should be accumulated in order to supplement the information provided here.