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  1. #1
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    Default Black Timber Rattlesnakes in Shenandoah National Park

    In recent weeks several visitors have reported black Timber Rattlesnakes in Shenandoah National Park. Visitors have brought pictures of these black rattlesnakes to Park Rangers at the Byrd Visitor Center in Big Meadows. The visitors encountered these rattlesnakes on trails and fire roads in the Central District. These snakes weren't aggressive and didn't move from where they were found. Due to the unusually high rainfall this year snakes are moving to drier areas. Though uncommon, black Timber Rattlesnakes have been found throughout VA.

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    Timber rattlers are common everywhere, and are a very docile, laid back snake. They an even be picked up without rattling, (by fools). It is very common for them to NOT rattle.

  3. #3

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    Welcome to the club. On my last Southeast trip I saw three timber rattlesnakes.

    My record for one backpacking trip was in July 2015 when I saw 3 rattlesnakes and one copperhead.

    Some are buckskin colored, some are copperish, some are near black, some blend in---

    61-5 timber snake-L.jpg
    Buckskin colored on Upper Creek trail Pisgah NF.

    Trip 183 (382)-L.jpg
    Very Dark on South Fork Citico trail.

    TRIP 136 382-L.jpg
    Hard to see on the Bald River trail.

    TRIP 185 (252)-L.jpg
    Some with a distinctive copper . . . uh . . . head. This on Jacks River trail in Cohutta.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Timber rattlers are common everywhere, and are a very docile, laid back snake. They an even be picked up without rattling, (by fools). It is very common for them to NOT rattle.
    The most pissed off snake I've ever seen was a rattlehead up on Bob Bald in NC---laying in a long line until I walked up and he rattled for 30 minutes and could be heard from 50 feet away.

    48-8-L.jpg

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    As much time as I spend in the area, I've only seen one and it was south of there, near Humpback Rocks and it was in road, dead. I seen dozens of black snakes in the SNP.

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    The visitors encountered these rattlesnakes on trails and fire roads in the Central District.

    That's where I've run across them.

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    Breeding season Mid May until Mid July

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyjam View Post
    As much time as I spend in the area, I've only seen one and it was south of there, near Humpback Rocks and it was in road, dead. I seen dozens of black snakes in the SNP.
    Humpback Rocks is where I saw my first rattler. I was trucking up the trail and he/she was crossing it and started rattling. Scared the living heck out of me. If I had been hiking with other folks and not focused I probably would have stepped on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    TRIP 136 382-L.jpg
    Hard to see on the Bald River trail.
    Too well camouflaged; as noted above, if I wasn't nearly 100% focused on where my next step would be, I'd risk stepping on it or getting too close.

    Underappreciated virtue of black snakes: easy to spot.

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    Ive an old habit of looking at trail 3-10' in front of me. I dont worry the least about rattlesnakes.

    But ive been knocked on my arse, and even broken tooth by collision with tree fallen acoss trail at head height. Much more dangerous.

  11. #11
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    The only two timber rattlers I've seen have both been black phase and both in Amherst County VA. One near The Priest summit and the other near the summit of Cold Mountain.
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  12. #12
    1,630 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    Rattle snakes are common in central Virginia. I have a section of the trail about 7 miles south of the entrance to Sky line drive. I see snakes in the trail every year. Two years ago I was weed whacking and actually kicked a snake that was sitting in the trail. He was not happy, but fortunately, did not strike. Most time they don't rattle unless disturbed. I am going out tomorrow to weed whack and I will be looking at the trail.
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Welcome to the club. On my last Southeast trip I saw three timber rattlesnakes.

    My record for one backpacking trip was in July 2015 when I saw 3 rattlesnakes and one copperhead.

    Some are buckskin colored, some are copperish, some are near black, some blend in---

    61-5 timber snake-L.jpg
    Buckskin colored on Upper Creek trail Pisgah NF.

    Trip 183 (382)-L.jpg
    Very Dark on South Fork Citico trail.

    TRIP 136 382-L.jpg
    Hard to see on the Bald River trail.

    TRIP 185 (252)-L.jpg
    Some with a distinctive copper . . . uh . . . head. This on Jacks River trail in Cohutta.
    Awesome post Tipi! love the pics.
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  14. #14

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    We see rattlers quite a bit on hikes in western and central PA. Especially on the Black Forest Trail and on the Chuck Keiper Trail. My favorite quality of rattlesnakes is that they are nice enough to rattle and let you know they are there (at least some times).
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    Awesome post Tipi! love the pics.
    Thanks for the input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QiWiz View Post
    We see rattlers quite a bit on hikes in western and central PA. Especially on the Black Forest Trail and on the Chuck Keiper Trail. My favorite quality of rattlesnakes is that they are nice enough to rattle and let you know they are there (at least some times).
    We hike the same paths and have the same view of these polite creatures. From a recent Mid state trail hike.IMG_3160.JPG
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