Timber Rattlesnake Crotalus horridus - Threatened


Description: 42 - 50 inches. Timber Rattlesnakes may be a brown, tan, gold, or gray, with black bands or chevrons down the length of the body. The head is shaped like a spade, and the eyes have vertical, cat-like pupils. There is usually a rusty brown stripe running down the center of the back, and the tails is usually black with a velvet like appearance and a light colored rattle on the end.

Similar Species: Massasauga rattlesnakes do not have black tails. Many non-venomous species of snakes in Minnesota will wag their tail against grass and other ground debris to produce a rattle-like sound, but rattlesnakes will hold their tails off the ground while rattling them. All non-venomous snakes in Minnesota have round pupils.

Comments: Restricted to southeast Minnesota, the timber rattlesnake is rarely encountered unless actively searching for it. This species is protected in Minnesota and should not be approached or killed. A single roadkill individual was found in southern Washington County in the 1980s; no known populations currently exist in Washington County.

Distribution Map
Distribution of the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

This map is generated from data provided by the Bell Museum of Natural History and HerpMapper.org. Please help us keep it up-to-date by submitting your amphibian and reptile observations.

Phenology of Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)