Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) - Ohio Herp Atlas

Timber Rattlesnake Crotalus horridus - Endangered

By virtue of their large size, timber rattlesnakes are the most dangerous snakes in northeastern America.They may attain a length in excess of six feet, but average 40 inches in length. Fortunately, when encountered most Timber Rattlesnakes are mild in disposition unless aroused and make little attempt to rattle or strike. Most remain coiled or quickly crawl away if given the opportunity. However, if thoroughly provoked, they can be aggressive. The first part of the scientific name, Crotalus, is derived from the Greek word krotalon, which means a “rattle.” The second part, horridus, is the Latin word for “standing on end.” Combined, they provide an excellent description of the rattler’s striking pose. Their numbers have been drastically reduced by development and direct persecution. Remnant colonies persist in widely scattered areas in southern unglaciated Ohio. Timber rattlesnakes are most numerous in the more remote areas of Zaleski, Pike, Shawnee, and Tar Hollow state forests. They prefer dry, wooded hill country where they prey on a variety of small warm-blooded animals. Timber Rattlesnakes have two basic color phases. The yellow phase has a series of dark brown or black chevron-shaped crossbands on a ground color of brownish yellow and a yellow or brown head. The black phase has the crossbands on a ground color of blackish brown and a black head. Contrary to popular belief, it is difficult to estimate the age of a rattlesnake by counting the number of rattles at the end of its tail. A new segment develops every time the skin is shed. Timber Rattlesnakes usually shed eight times during their first four years and then usually shed once a year thereafter. In addition, old segments are occasionally lost. LENGTH: 36”–60”

Text courtesy of the Ohio Division of Wildlife: https://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/portals/wildlife/pdfs/publications/id%20guides/pub354_Reptiles-opt.pdf

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Photographs
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)