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Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Timber rattlesnake
Timber rattlesnakeTimber rattlesnake
Personal information
There are three timber rattlesnakes at the Zoo, two male and one female. All three were born in 2005 and arrived at the Zoo in 2010.

Status in the wild
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status: Least concern. This snake is listed as Least concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population and because its unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. The timber rattlesnake is listed as vulnerable, imperiled, or critically imperiled in 20 of the 30 US states in which it occurs, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Many southern states afford no special protection to timber rattlesnakes.

Habitat
Historically, this species was found in most of the eastern United States and into southern Canada, but the species has been extirpated in many areas, and populations are patchy and fragmented. Currently they range from southeastern Minnesota to Maine, and south to northern Florida, west to eastern Texas.

Diet
Their main food source is small mammals, in particular mice and voles, including some shrews, rats, chipmunks, ground squirrels, squirrels and young rabbits. Birds and other animals are also occasionally eaten.

  • Rattlesnakes only look for food when they are hungry. An adult rattler goes about two weeks between meals, on average, depending on how large its last meal was. Younger rattlesnakes eat more often, about once a week.
  • Life span for the timber rattlesnake is 10 to 20 years and may be up to 30 years.
  • Timber rattlesnakes are among the last snakes to emerge from hibernation in the spring, and among the first to retire to their winter retreats in the fall.