Let’s talk about the timber rattlesnake

by Tammy McCormack. 0 Comments

Oh, has it been hot lately! I don't think anything has moved around much during the day with the heat we have had.

Of course, that was my mistaken thinking that the other day. I received a snake call and had to go up into a ceiling and attic ... WOW! it was like a steaming hot sauna. But I got the snake safely removed and now he is on his way out in the corn field to his new area.

Calls like that make me very happy no matter how hot, sweaty or dirty I get.

Now onto the our second poisonous snake native to Maryland: The majestic and gorgeous timber rattlesnake, which is a protected species.

Timber rattlers prefer remote wooded hillsides with a lot of rock outcrops. Some prefer unsettled swampy areas and thickets. From my experience in studying this species they are found in the higher elevations of the Catoctin Mountains.

When you're up on the Catoctin Mountains, you may see these beautiful snakes basking on the rocks in pretty good numbers.

Imagine laying on a rock, not a care in the world with a wonderful summer breeze blowing on you. Sounds just too good to be true, but not for the timber rattler. This snake is very thick bodied with brown, black and gray coloring. They have dark black side blotches on the front of their body and blotches fused to form crossbands on the rear of body.

They have a solid black tail and, of course, with a rattle on the end. They mate in autumn and shortly after emerge from hibernation. Females give birth only every other year to between five and 17 snakes.

This timber rattler can reach a length of over 5 feet and females mature in four to five years.

They are very active from April to October, mainly during the daytime in spring and fall and they prefer nights during the summer.

Timber rattlesnakes congregate in large numbers in rock den sites over the winter. They hibernate with black rat snakes and copperheads and make for a truly a wonderful snake to read and study about.

This snake is very rarely found around a home.

Feel feel to post any questions or comments about any snake or wildlife that I could help you with. That is the whole purpose of my columns is to educate and help.

Tammy McCormack is a professional snake trapper. She writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

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