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Leashing the Rattlesnake

A behind-the-scenes look at experimental design

By
11:06am, September 23, 2003

Depending on how you look at them, snakes have no neck or nothing but neck, and either way, Ron Swaisgood had a problem. To finish his Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis he had to figure out how to put a rattlesnake on a leash. Obviously, dropping a slipknot around the snake's neck wouldn't do. Swaisgood's research project required that the snake comfortably slither, coil, and strike but still be tethered tightly enough that there was no chance it could escape.

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