timber rattlesnake

(Crotalus horridus)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

LC - Least Concern

timber rattlesnake


N4 - Apparently Secure

S2 - Imperiled



Species in Greatest Conservation Need



Photo by Ramona Abrego

Steep, south and southwest facing bluff prairies with rock outcroppings near a forest


25 to 30 years or more


36 to 54


The head is triangular and unmarked. There is a sensory pit between the eye and the nostril on each side of the head. The body is marked with dark brown to black chevron-shaped bands and a brown mid-dorsal stripe. The tail is black and ends in a rattle with 1 to 13 or more segments.


Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is smaller. The body is blotched, not banded.


Mostly small mammals but also birds and bird eggs.

Life Cycle




Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 6, 11, 14, 24, 29, 72, 74.


This is one of only two venomous snakes in Minnesota.



Squamata (amphisbaenians, lizards, and snakes)



Serpentes (snakes)






Viperidae (pit vipers, vipers)



Crotalinae (pit vipers)


Crotalus atricaudatus

Crotalus horridus atricaudatus

Crotalus horridus horridus


canebrake rattlesnake

timber rattlesnake







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Ramona Abrego

Captive – Wildlife Science Center

  timber rattlesnake    
Dennis Boelter
  timber rattlesnake   timber rattlesnake
  timber rattlesnake    
  timber rattlesnake
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos






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Other Videos
  Timber Rattlesnake HD

Published on Aug 20, 2012

Timber Rattlesnake
(Crotalus horridus)

Description: Tan/brown with dark stripes across back. Orange/brown line down middle of back. Unmarked head. 23-25 keeled scales. Black tail.

Dimensions: 88.9-189.2cm. (95-74 1/2")

Warning! Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, and Cottonmouths belong to a group of snakes known as pit vipers. These dangerous snakes have a heat-sensitive sensory organ on each side of the head that enables them to locate warm-blooded prey and strike accurately, even in the dark. The curved, hollow fangs are normally folded back along the jaw. When a pit viper strikes, the fangs rapidly swing forward and fill with venom as the mouth opens. The venom is a complex mixture of proteins that acts primarily on a victim's blood tissue. If you hear a rattlesnake shaking its rattle, back away. The snake is issuing a warning, and if the warning is ignored it may bite. There are many factors (temperature being the most important) that determine how a snake will react when confronted by a human. Venomous snakes should always be observed from a safe distance. Pit vipers are never safe to handle. Even dead ones can retain some neurological reflexes, and "road kills" have been known to bite.

Breeding: Breeds in spring, after hibernation. Alternative years. 5-17 live young. 25-33cm (10-13") long born August- October. Females breed at 4/5 years.

Habitat: Wooded hillsides and rocky outcrops.

Range: Maine through Florida. Minnesota and Texas.

Discussion: Hibernates in winter, active April-October. Often hibernate with Copperheads and rat snakes. Wait for prey, coiled up. Rats, squirrels and mice form diet. Motionless if approached even by prey until it strikes. Longest living over 30 years.

  Steve Irwin: Timber Rattlesnake

Published on Apr 24, 2014

Steve handles a Timber rattlesnake in the Appalacian Mountains

  Hunting BIG Rattlesnakes in Pennsylvania 2014
Leatherwood Outdoors

Published on Jul 8, 2014

Timber Rattlesnake Hunting Pa 2014. Follow Shane Reed and Ryan Toth as they hunt for big timber rattlesnakes in Lycoming county Pennsylvania. The guys find a group of four big snakes near a log pile. Two of the snakes were males and the other two were female. Shane and Ryan tag out with a 52 and a 51 1/2 black phase timber rattlesnake.

  Timber Rattlesnake Den

Uploaded on Jul 30, 2009


Join me as I visit a timber rattlesnake maternity den to see how many snakes I can find.

  Brandon's Herp Adventures: Timber Rattlesnake

Uploaded on May 29, 2009

(Crotalus horridus)




Visitor Sightings
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Ramona Abrego

Location: Forest Lake

Captive – Wildlife Science Center

timber rattlesnake

Dean Singer
7/14 and 7/24/2019

Location: Garvin Heights wildwood bike trail 7-14-19 and Holzinger wildwood bike trail above woodland cemetery. (Winona County)

Both were stretch across bike trail. One onto of Garvin Heights extremely aggressive and did not rattle until right on top of it. I was there to cut up a fallen tree across trail. Snake was in the tree and mad as hell.  Snake above cemetery was stretched across a trail that is heavily used by riders and walkers. Myself and wife and son passed by the snake twice within minutes and did not see until second time. This snake was not aggressive and did not rattle. And yes it also had rattles but was about 3 feet long and small head appeared to be a younger snake. At this point I think someone should be advising the city to possibly post signs so people can be aware. A lot of the joggers and walkers wear headphones and will never hear a rattle until it’s too late. 

Dennis Boelter

Location: Winona

timber rattlesnake

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