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If You’re Ever Visiting Kentucky Here’s How To Identify The Timber Rattlesnake vs The Eastern Diamondback

If you are ever considering a visit, or a move to the state of Kentucky from any of the more ‘liberal’ states, here’s a few things that you might like to know first.

Kentucky is a southeastern state bounded by the Ohio River in the north and the Appalachian Mountains in the east, with Frankfort the state capital. The state’s largest city, Louisville, is home to the Kentucky Derby, the renowned horse race held at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

Also, and more importantly, he cost of living in Kentucky is considerably lower than in most other states in the country. The cost of consumer goods and services is affordable for most, making it an excellent place to settle in a multiple-person household. Everything from energy to food is cheaper for all citizens of the state.

The hunting is excellent in Kentucky, but it is home to the Timber rattlesnake and if you like to take long walks in the woods, you might want to know a few things about this particular venomous snake so you know what to do in case you stumble across one.

Like other vipers, the timber rattlesnake is venomous with venom potent enough to kill a human. A timber rattlesnake bite is a medical emergency. However, timber rattlesnake bites are rare.

About the Timber Rattlesnake courtesy of the Department of Forestry KENTUCKY SNAKE IDENTIFICATION  :

Appearance:  Timber Rattlesnakes are stocky and noted for the prominent rattle on their tail tip. Their dorsal color can be gray, yellow, brown or green.  Most Kentucky Timber Rattlesnakes are patterned with dark crossbands or chevrons that run along the back. However, some Timber Rattlesnakes are completely black. The belly is light in color with black dots. Timber Rattlesnakes have keeled scales, a single anal plate and facial pits.
Size: Timber Rattlesnakes are the largest venomous snake in Kentucky. Adults can reach up to 5 feet in total length, although most adults range from 2.5 to 3.5 ft.


Habitat / Range: Although once found statewide, Timber Rattlesnakes are currently restricted to heavily forested areas in Kentucky.   Populations are not known to occur in the Inner Bluegrass Region and northern Kentucky.  In addition to forests, these secretive animals prefer rocky outcrops, ridgelines and bluffs, especially on south and southwest facing slopes.  In Kentucky, Timber Rattlesnakes hibernate individually in stump holes, abandoned mammal burrows or rock crevices. 

Natural History: Timber Rattlesnakes have a unique natural history. Females may take up to 6 years to reach maturity.  Live young are born in the late summer or early fall, and females generally have babies every 2-3 years.  The new-born babies often stay with the mother for several weeks after birth. Timber Rattlesnakes can live 25 or more years in the wild.  Because of their late maturing and infrequent reproduction, this life history strategy makes them incredibly susceptible to human persecution and habitat destruction. Rattlesnakes prefer to eat mammals, especially mice, squirrels, woodrats and chipmunks.  After injecting venom into their prey, they will use scent and their temperature sensitive pits to track their dying prey.  Consumption occurs after the prey item is immobile.  Timber Rattlesnakes are consumed by Kingsnakes, Virginia Oppossums (which are immune to the venom), some birds of prey, and humans.    




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