Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rattle Snake Teeth

I was asked by a medical textbook author to take a few pictures of hollow rattlesnake fangs that were supposedly the inspiration for modern medical syringes. Easy to get fresh rattlesnake heads, just call up the biggest supplier of rattlesnake meat. Located in Georgia, the company shipped me several fresh snake heads for a few dollars. The largest was the size of a 200watt light bulb. Quite a large snake to find in the wild. Before I extracted the teeth, I stopped by one of the research radiography laboratories at one of the local universities where I often use their high resolution x-ray machine. I was surprised to learn that rattlesnake teeth are like sharks. The snakes are constantly looking and regrowing new fangs. It turns out that a rattlesnake will go through a set of fangs on average every meal and a half. In this side view of the head you can clearly see several sets of spare fangs in the upper jab. This is one of the fun things about being a science photographer, I am always learning new things.

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