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Crotalus horridus

Common Name: Timber Rattlesnake
Crotalus horridus
Crotalus horridus

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Crotalus
Species: Crotalus horridus

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

As part of the pit viper family, timber rattlesnakes contain a triangular head, thick body, ridged scales, and a distinct rattle. They can grow to be around 36-40 inches in length. They are yellow-brown colored, with darker brown blotches and a black tail.

Habitat & Range

Timber rattlesnakes can be found in wooded rocky hills and swamps and are present in the eastern United States.


Female timber rattlesnakes enjoy basking in the sun in open rocky areas before they give birth. During colder months, they hide in dens or crevices and can be found grouped up with other species of snakes (such as black rat snakes). Timber rattlesnakes primarily eat birds, amphibians, snakes, and small mammals. They hunt by ambushing their predators and can quickly strike and inject venom into unsuspecting prey.

Like other rattlesnakes, timber rattlesnakes are venomous and will rattle and coil in warning. However, they are docile compared to members of its family and will likely remain motionless when encountered.

Life Cycle

Mating season occurs during the spring and late summer and involves complicated courtship dances between the male and female rattlesnake. Females give birth to around 3 to 13 live-young in a single litter. Young rattlesnakes look very similar to adults, except they may have a dark stripe from their eye to jaw and a much smaller rattle.

Image by Tim Vickers


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