Friday, June 26, 2009

Timber rattlers out for summer

Timber rattlers are out and about in the western part of Virginia including the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains with territory that can be as large as one square mile. After recent sightings in popular hiking areas, reporter Bob Stuart wrote about the slithery creatures in Wednesday's Waynesboro News Virginian. He included some rattler facts:
* Timber rattlers are found in the Shenandoah Valley and other mountainous portions of western Virginia.
* The snakes are heavily bodied and can grow up to a length of more than 5 feet.
* Timber rattlers have a coloration from yellow to black with darker bands across the body.
* The snakes will not attack humans unless harassed.
* During the summer, male timber rattlers travel as far as a mile to mate with females.
Heads-up out there.

1 comment:

Bob K. said...

"The snakes will not attack humans unless harassed."

You've probably hiked close to more rattlers than you know. The cold spring has them 'warming up' more on rocks and near trails. Both snakes I've seen this year 'buzzed' their tails as I approached them. I HEARD the snakes before I saw them.

Rattlers are not as agressive as copperheads. Keep a sharp ear out for them. If you hear one, give the snake some space. Observe from a distance and always remember the primary rule of wildlife observation: It is the snake, not you who is the one who decides when its been 'harassed.'