ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Hillbilly Guide to Snakes: The Timber Rattlesnake

Updated on August 15, 2012
Timber Rattlesnake.  Public domain.
Timber Rattlesnake. Public domain. | Source
The Gadsden Flag. By Lexicon, Vikrum (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.
The Gadsden Flag. By Lexicon, Vikrum (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3. | Source
Timber rattlesnake. By Tad Arensmeier from St. Louis, MO, USA  CC-BY-2.0
Timber rattlesnake. By Tad Arensmeier from St. Louis, MO, USA CC-BY-2.0 | Source

Crotalus Horridus... The Canebrake Rattlesnake


The timber rattlesnake, which is also commonly referred to as the canebrake rattlesnake, is a venomous member of the pit viper family that has an interesting place in United States history. The timber rattlesnake served as a symbol for the American colonists during the Revolutionary war. It was used in Benjamin Franklin's 'Join, or Die' cartoon, and became popular representation of the ideals and beliefs of colonists fighting for their freedom. The idea was that all of the colonies together made up the entire body of the snake, and only together could they keep the British from destroying them beneath their giant foot. When a rattlesnake is approached it uses it's rattles to warn predators, and then will bite as a last resort. At that time in history rattlesnake bites were much more likely to cause a death. This was the ideal the colonist stood behind against the British Government. This concept would come to be displayed on the popular Gadsden Flag in the form of a rattlesnake with the statement, “Don't tread on me.”

Timber rattlesnake.  Public domain.
Timber rattlesnake. Public domain. | Source
Timber rattlesnake.  Public domain.
Timber rattlesnake. Public domain. | Source

Appearance


The timber rattlesnake is a master of camouflage. They come in a variety of colors but are usually have a brown or grayish base color. They will have an overlaying pattern that can come in a variety of styles. Sometime it will be a V or butterfly shape. Other snakes have a random design that doesn't follow a strict design and can be thought of like tiger stripe camouflage. They will often have a red, orange, or yellow striped straight down the center of their back.

Like other rattlesnakes and pit vipers, their heads are triangle shaped because of the large venom glands that they have on the sides of their heads. This will give their cheeks a puffy look. Because they are pit vipers they have two small holes near their nostrils that look like an extra set of nostrils. These pits are used for sensing heat.

They aren't the biggest rattlesnakes, but they do get fairly large. Adults range typically range between 3 and 5 feet. The record is over six feet long.

Timber rattlesnake.  Public domain.
Timber rattlesnake. Public domain. | Source
Timber rattlesnake.  Photo by Magialuna.  This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Timber rattlesnake. Photo by Magialuna. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. | Source

Habitat


The timber rattlesnake ranges across a large area. Starting fro the southern and eastern coasts of the United States it goes as far west as Texas and as far north as Minnesota.

As it's name might apply timber rattlesnakes or canebrake rattlesnakes prefer secluded wooded areas thick with brush or debris. They like areas where their magnificent camouflage can hide them easily.

Timber Rattlesnake. Photo by by Trisha M. Shears. Public domain.
Timber Rattlesnake. Photo by by Trisha M. Shears. Public domain. | Source
Timber rattlesnake.  By Jonathunder (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Timber rattlesnake. By Jonathunder (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Food


Timber rattlesnakes will eat anything from small mammals, rodents, birds, amphibians, and other reptiles. Interestingly enough, timber rattlesnakes in different parts of the country contain slightly different venom. Their main purpose for their venom remains the same however. They will lie in ambush, strike their prey, then wait safely wait to the side until it dies.

Timber rattlesnake. Photographer: LA Dawson Animal courtesy of Austin Reptile Service. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Timber rattlesnake. Photographer: LA Dawson Animal courtesy of Austin Reptile Service. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Source

Interactions With Humans


Despite their tough guy appearance and reputation for being harsh, timber rattlesnakes are quite docile in nature. They will always flee from a danger if they can. If they can't they will warn with their rattles and make pretend strikes. They only have so much venom at one time, and would much rather save it for killing their food than having to defend themselves. When the attacker doesn't back off the snake will eventually strike. It still may not use any of it's venom with the strike, but if a person has been bitten it's probably best to get medical treatment immediately.

Yes these snakes are venomous, but with their seclusive nature they will almost certainly cause you no harm if you leave them alone. However if you to approach it as an enemy then it will become very dangerous.

Timber rattlesnake.  Photographer: LA Dawson. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Timber rattlesnake. Photographer: LA Dawson. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting hub snakes are not always harmful mostly when touched accidentally and if people don't understand to be careful and not to play around with such dangerous beauties they will have to prepared for the after effect.

    • Phillbert profile imageAUTHOR

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 

      5 years ago from The Ozarks

      Yeah they are sharp!

    • jrueff profile image

      Joshua Rueff 

      5 years ago from Kansas City

      Yeah, that's the one! I want one pretty bad, will have to wait a bit though, save a little. Watched a youtube video on it and was pretty impressed.

    • Phillbert profile imageAUTHOR

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 

      5 years ago from The Ozarks

      You are close! I believe you are talking about the judge, the one that shoots the .410 shells. Funny you mention it, I was actually looking at one just a few days ago.

    • jrueff profile image

      Joshua Rueff 

      5 years ago from Kansas City

      It would be! I think I'd have to bring one of those rattlesnake killers - have you seen the revolver that shoots buckshot? I think it's called the Governor.

    • Phillbert profile imageAUTHOR

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 

      5 years ago from The Ozarks

      Right!?! It would be intense! Thanks for the comment!

    • jrueff profile image

      Joshua Rueff 

      5 years ago from Kansas City

      Phillbert, I had no idea rattlesnakes could get so big... It would be both awesome and a bit terrifying to come across a snake over 6 feet long with a rattle on his tail... can't even imagine it. I think I may need to update my bucket list now.

    • Phillbert profile imageAUTHOR

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 

      6 years ago from The Ozarks

      Thanks for sharing your story brblog! That sounds intense! Yeah it's pretty crazy how well they can climb and the small spaces that they can fit themselves through too.

    • brblog profile image

      Bruce 

      6 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Hey Phillbert,

      I came across a rattlesnake along a golf cart path in Arizona a few years ago. It reared up its head and the rattle was going. Luckily, it was too far away to strike but I am glad it made its presence known; otherwise we might have walked very close to it. It was amazing how it moved almost vertically up a stone wall that was right behind it.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)