This naturalistic characterization of a rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus) correctly records many significant anatomical details. The Aztecs carved naturalistic sculptures of birds, chosen reptiles and insects, indicating that their life cycles and habits were carefully monitored. On this snake the little ring-shaped cavities on both sides of the head between the eyes and the nostrils are the outside openings to heat detectors that are exceptionally successful, empowering the snake at prey in whole darkness.
The hole observable on the floor of the mouth is the trachea. In snakes this is movable, so that when its quarry is being ingested by a snake, the trachea moves forward to empower it to continue to respire. The touches of red pigment on mouth and the right nostril and the red dots on the surfaces of the ventral coils may allude to the coloured skin of some species of rattlesnakes. The rattle includes thirteen sections. Every time the snake sheds its skin a section that is new is created.
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