Those of you who are coming to this thinking, "Hey, I love snakes, this should be fun to watch," I've got news for you - you might think you're not scared of snakes, but I challenge you not to flinch when a bunch of them start attacking the screen with vicious abandon. And those of you who aren't cool with snakes, well… god help you.

Uploaded by YouTuber Michael Delaney, the footage was shot out in the grasslands of Montana in the US, where pairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) thrive in the open, arid landscape, and congregate in the vacant dens of prairie dogs to survive the winter months.

In fact, thanks to these dens, you won't see a rattlesnake in Montana from around mid-September till at least March, because they'll be holed up underground, hibernating in the network of abandoned tunnels till the frost melts away. According to researchers at the Northern State University in South Dakota, rattlesnakes will often return to the same den year after year, the young likely following the scent trails of the older snakes to find their way there.

And there's no room for discrimination in those cozy nap passages - all snakes are welcome to writhe together in the darkness. "The snake dens may contain great numbers of rattlesnakes, bullsnakes, blue racers, and even garter snakes," says the NSU website. "In South Dakota these dens may have as many as 1,000 snakes, although the usual number is about 250." 

Which means that poor old GoPro got off easy, with just a couple of handfuls of rattlesnakes biting it in the face. 

Prairie rattlesnakes are the only species of rattlesnake in the state of Montana, and the only venomous snakes found out in South Dakota. Now, brace yourselves, because this is about to get so adorable you'll forget all about how they tried to murder you by proxie in Delaney's footage… baby rattlesnakes don't start out with a fully-fledged rattle - they're born with a 'prebutton', which is a tiny segment of a rattle at the tip of their tail. A prebutton. RIP me.

If you can't get enough of large snake gatherings, it just so happens that we've got you covered, because here's some more footage, and this time it's of a thousands-strong 'mating ball' of garter snakes in Canada. Enjoy, and don't say we never did anything for you:

H/T: Digg