Timber Rattlesnake

By | July 4, 2019

I came upon this Timber Rattlesnake while walking a road near the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas back in April 2015. This was my first time seeing one of these.

Timber Rattlesnake
A Timber Rattlesnake coiled on a county road near the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas.

As soon as it saw me it coiled in the middle of the road and I was able to get several photos.

This one wasn’t very large. I would guess it would be about 3 feet (0.91 meters) long. Adults usually grow to a total length of 36 to 60 inches (1.52 meters).

Generally, this species is found in deciduous forests in rugged terrain. During the summer, gravid (pregnant) females seem to prefer open, rocky ledges where the temperatures are higher, while males and non gravid females tend to spend more time in cooler, denser woodland with more closed forest canopy.

Female timber rattlers often bask in the sun before giving birth, in open rocky areas known as “basking knolls”.

During the winter, timber rattlesnakes brumate in dens, in limestone crevices, often together with Copperheads and black rat snakes.

Potentially, this is one of North America’s most dangerous snakes, due to its long fangs, impressive size, and high venom yield.

Wikipedia contributors, “Timber rattlesnake,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Timber_rattlesnake&oldid=895539836 (accessed July 4, 2019).

Rattles of a Timber Rattlesnake
These are the Rattles of a Timber Rattlesnake.

How I Got The Shot – Timber Rattlesnake

I walk several of the roads in the Ouachita National Forest looking for snakes that like to cross these roads. I was hoping to find one of these Timber Rattlesnakes and I got lucky when I came across this one. I was also lucky that this one decided to coil instead of crawling into the brush.

I was sitting in the road, hand holding my Canon EOS 7D Mark II with the Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second at f5.6 and the ISO at 1250. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous auto focus with evaluative metering.

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