Timber Rattlesnake

Crotalus horridus


Timber Rattlesnakes are thick-bodied pit vipers native to a large range of the eastern US and are found as far north as New England (Behler & King, 1979). Timber Rattlesnakes range throughout a majority of Mississippi. These snake are generally a golden tan color, gray, or brown with dark blotches on the back and sides. Blotching often forms bands toward the tail, and the tail is often solid black. Timbers may hibernate in large, rocky hibernacula with many individuals, though this does not occur in the warmer, southern parts of their range. They become active in spring, after which they begin hunting rodents and other mammals. Like other snake species, they suffer from habitat loss. Also known as the Canebrake Rattlesnake.

Young Timber Rattlesnake, Tangipahoa Par. (LA)

Identifying Traits

  • Tan, gold, yellowish, or gray body with dark blotching
  • Less-patterned head
  • Black or dark tail


Wooded areas and swamps, upland forests, bottomland hardwood forests


Nocturnal hunters, occasionally seen active at dawn or dusk


Rabbits, squirrels, rodents, birds

Juvenile Timber Rattlesnake, Madison Co. (IA)
Subadult from a rocky glade, Madison CO. (IA)
A large Timber Rattlesnake as found, West Feliciana Par. (LA), © CJ Hillard