Dark brown spots that often merge to form rough bands on a tan
to gray back. Top of head fairly plain unlike the bold patterns
seen in the Massasauga. Often
a reddish stripe down the back.
Prefers forested areas with rocky outcrops.
11-60 inches long, the biggest of our rattlers.
Small mammals and other small vertebrates.
History: When disturbed the Timber Rattlesnake typically
sounds a warning by rattling its tail. This snake has likely
been extirpated in many areas of eastern Nebraska. Some of the
reduction of this species may be due to habitat loss, but much
of it probably results from snakes being kill on sight by humans.
rattlesnakes often hibernate in large dens during the winter.
Such dens may contain hundreds of rattlesnakes. This behavior
tends to concentrate snakes in small areas as the emerge from
their dens in the spring.
sensory pits are used to 'see' infrared light. This makes the
pit a heat detector and allows this snake to hunt warm blooded
small mammals in total darkness.
is a 'sit and wait' predator. It often coils up and waits quietly
for its prey to come within striking distance. Camouflage coloration
makes this motionless snake difficult to see. Care should be
taken when in rattlesnake habitat to watch your step and look
before putting your hand near ground.
Rattlesnakes do not lay eggs, females give live birth to 11
inch snakes. The young have a simple button rattle. Rattle segments
are added each time the snakes sheds its skin. Warning:
new born rattlers are small, but they are venomous.