Welcome back to Wildlife Wednesday from your Ohio Division of Wildlife ! Let’s finish the spotlight of the three venomous snakes in the buckeye state with the timber rattlesnake as we continue to celebrate National Wildlife Week.
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. 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.
Remnant colonies persist in widely scattered areas in southern unglaciated Ohio. They prefer dry, wooded hill country
where they prey on a variety of small warm-blooded animals.
For more info on reptiles, download the Reptiles of Ohio Field Guide here – https://ohiodnr.gov/…/docum…/backyard-wildlife-documents.