– THOMPSON M,
Florida Museum of Natural History’s Guide to Florida’s Venomous Snakes
Timber Rattlesnake, Canebrake Rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus horridus
Description: Average adult size is 36-60 inches (76-152 cm), record is 74.5 inches (189 cm). Can be a large, heavy bodied snake. The reddish brown stripe running down the center of the back is disrupted by a series of large, black, chevron-like crossbands on the pinkish gray or tan body. The tail is uniform black. The head is large and sometimes with a dark diagonal line through the eye or just behind the eye. The pupil is vertical (catlike) and there is a facial pit between the nostril and the eye. The tail ends in a rattle. Juveniles resemble adults, but with a single rounded button at the tip of the tail.
Range: This snake has a very limited range in our state, found in only 8 or 9 counties in north Florida. It ranges as far south as Alachua and Dixie Counties and as far west as Hamilton and Suwannee Counties. There are verbal reports that this snake occurs in a few northern counties of the panhandle, but there are no verified records.
Habitat: Timber rattlesnakes in Florida prefer low bottomlands where it is fairly damp, river beds, hammocks pine flatwoods, swamps, and cane thickets.
Comments: This snake was once very common and still is in some parts of its range. Throughout the past it, as well as other rattlesnakes, has been persecuted by in rattlesnake roundups, skin shops, and in senseless killings. The rattlesnakes and other snakes, are one of our best allies in the fight to control rodents. They should be respected, not feared. This snake should be given a wide berth and left alone. Because of its cryptic coloration (camouflage), it can be easily overlooked, especially if it does not rattle.
Homoeopathic name and abbreviation: Crotalus horridus; Crot-h.
Common names: The timber rattlesnake
Description: Body 1 m long yellowish-tawny to blackish-brown with a rattle-like black tail containing 6 to 20 depressed horny ring possessing a tongue shaped portion posteriorly; belly light-coloured. Head broad, triangular, with a deep scaly pit on each side below and in front of the eye; parietals and frontals scale like, nasal plate divided; fangs large, hollow, recurved containing two large ones, 1.9 cm long and 4 to 6 undeveloped pairs of 0.30 to 1.3 cm long; neck contracted; the back and sides covered with keeled scales, the belly with unkeeled plates; mouth with venom sacs containing venom which forms precipitate with alcohol.
Distribution: Eastern and Central USA.
Range: USA, southern Maine and southern Wisconsin southward to the Gulf of Mexico except for the Florida peninsula and the vicinity of the Great Lakes.
Authority: Linnaeus, 1758.
Comments: The rattlesnakes are the most developed and highly advanced and at the peak of evolutionary development of the pit vipers, whilst the copperheads are at the other end of the evolutionary scale..
proved by hering; Allen: Encyclop. Mat. Med., Vol. III, 588; Hering: Guiding Symptoms, Vol. IV, 484; Clarke: A Dictionary of Pract. Mat. Med Vol. 1, 613.
– THOMPSON M,