Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)
Sub-order Serpentes, Subfamily Crotalinae
Photo of Timber Rattlesnake courtesy of Scott A. Smith
36 inches – 60 inches Record: 74 ½ inches
Close-up Photo of Timber Rattlesnake Rattle
courtesy of Scott A. Smith
Prefer upland forested areas with rocky outcrops and talus slopes.
How to Find
This is a shy species; they avoid areas frequented by humans. Diurnal during the spring and fall, nocturnal during summer to avoid the heat. Most active in the spring following hibernation. Warning – this is a venomous snake. Do not attempt to capture or handle. They will readily bite if provoked, and bites are extremely painful. Seek medical attention immediately if bitten.
Photo of Habitat for Timber Rattlesnake courtesy of R. Harrison Wiegand
Distribution in Maryland
Exclusively a western Maryland species, from Frederick to Garrett County, although historical records place these snakes east to the Susquehanna River.
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.
The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.