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Timber Rattlesnake

Class: Reptile
Other names: Canebrake snake
Color: Brown to black chevron pattern over yellow, gray or black
Other distinguishing features: Facial pits between eye and nostril
Size: 36 inches to 60 inches
Diet: Rodents, rabbits, small birds, amphibians, other snakes
Predators: Coyotes, foxes, raccoons, opossums, cats, eagles, hawks, turkeys, black snakes, king snakes
Interesting Fact: Like other rattlers, the timber rattlesnake adds a ring to its tail each time it sheds its skin, usually every one to two years.

Seeing the Timber Rattlesnake Could Rattle Your Nerves

The timber rattlesnake is one of two poisonous snakes in the state of Maryland, and it’s the only one with a rattle. It has a painful and dangerous bite, and if you’re bitten you should seek medical help.

But timber rattlesnakes bites are rare because the snakes live only in western Maryland in upland forested areas with rocky outcrops. Plus, timber rattlesnakes are shy and prefer to hide rather than confront people.  But they will defend themselves if they feel threatened, and their fangs are long enough to penetrate pants and boots.

You can spot a timber rattlesnake by looking for:

  • A triangular and flattened head
  • Facial pits between eye and nostril
  • Brown to black chevron pattern over yellow, gray or black back

A timber rattlesnake in Maryland generally grow to between 36 and 60 inches long.

Warm Weather Lovers

Timber rattlesnakes like it warm, and to avoid the cold they hibernate from October through late April, often sleeping with dozens of other snakes.  They like dens on south-facing slopes that catch the sun, and will sometimes come out to bask on the rocks on warm days.

The mating season of timber rattlesnakes in Maryland extends from mid-summer through October. The eggs are fertilized inside the female, and she carries them during the winter. The female can also store male sperm during the winter and use it to fertilize her eggs when she ovulates in the spring.

A timber rattlesnake gives birth to 6 to 10 young in the spring and nurtures them with her for the first week of their life. Females can reproduce only two or three times during their lifetime, which can last 20 years.

Timber rattlesnakes have a varied diet of:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Small birds
  • Amphibians
  • Other snakes

Because timber rattlesnakes eat so many mice, some researchers believe that they may help control Lyme disease.  Mice carry deer ticks, and researchers  estimate that a timber rattlesnake eats 2,500 to 4,500 ticks each year by devouring the mice.

Safe Snake Removal in Maryland

If you think a timber rattlesnake may be in your yard, call in the experts of Brody Brothers Pest Control to investigate and safely remove them: 443-379-8857


If the snake if your yard looks different than the one pictured, it could be one of the following:

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