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Species Description

Timber Rattlesnake

Crotalus horridus


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Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae

Description

The Timber Rattlesnake of the Southeast has a ground color of brown, black, yellow, or pinkish. The back has a series of 20 - 29 brown or black blotches and crossbands, and a reddish brown middorsal stripe. The rear portion of the body and the tail are velvety black. A large, stout-bodied snake adult Timber Rattlesnakes average from 900 - 1,520 mm (36 - 60 in) in length.

Life Cycle

In the South, Timber Rattlesnakes breed in late summer and fall, primarily August through October. From 5 - 20 young are born the following year from August through October. The young rattlesnakes will remain near the mother for 7 - 10 days after birth and some may follow the female to dens to hibernate during the winter months.

Natural History

A resident of Eastern forests, the Timber Rattlesnake inhabits hardwood forests with rocky outcrops and talus slopes, pine flatwoods, bottomland hardwood forests, and cane thickets. The primary food of adults is rodents, rabbits, and squirrels, but birds, and occasionally other snakes, lizards, and frogs may be eaten. Natural predators include hawks, the Bobcat, coyotes, skunks, and snake-eating snakes like the Cottonmouth, kingsnakes, and the Indigo Snake.

Range

Timber Rattlesnake Region Map The Timber Rattlesnake occurs throughout the state of Georgia. In the rest of the United States it ranges from southeastern Nebraska and east Texas to New Hampshire. It is absent from the peninsula of Florida, Eastern Virginia, and the Delmarva peninsula region.

Conservation Status

The Timber Rattlesnake is not a protected species, but it is not a commonly seen snake.

Similar Species

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake has large white or cream-edged, diamond-shaped markings on its back. The Pigmy Rattlesnake has nine large scales on the top of the head and its adults are smaller.