Huge Montana Rattlesnake Den Will Give You Nightmares

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Rattlesnakes in New Mexico
© Rusty Dodson/Shutterstock.com

Key Points:

  • Rattlesnakes are big, venomous reptiles with triangular-shaped skulls and a distinctive rattle at the end of their tails.
  • Brumation is the reptilian version of hibernation.
  • Snakes are cold-blooded and unable to survive cold weather without finding a den to brumate in safely through the winter.
  • It is common for snakes to share dens but uncommon to find a great number of them wintering together as shown in the video.

Rattlesnakes are big, venomous reptiles with triangular-shaped skulls that are extremely specialized. Because of the distinctive “rattle” at the tip of their tail, they belong to the most recognizable subspecies of North American snakes.

Usually, individuals either adore snakes or despise them. Despite how you feel about them, the majority of us can agree that in North America, we’d prefer not to run into too many dangerous snakes while enjoying the outdoors. 

Prairie Rattlesnake

Prairie rattlesnakes like this one can reach lengths of 3.3 feet or more and have a maximum lifespan of 16 – 20 years.

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©iStock.com/HRossD

Of course, if you are in a place with a lot of rattlesnakes, like Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico, avoiding rattlesnakes could be challenging. Today’s video is taking us to the great state of Montana. Additionally, this snake sighting is not typical. There are dozens and dozens of rattlesnakes lurking in cracks and a sizable hole in the ground in a confined space.

Only one of the state’s 10 snake species, the prairie rattlesnake, also known as the western rattlesnake, is venemous. According to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, just five to six reports of bites are typically made out of the hundreds of thousands of individuals that take advantage of the outdoors each year. Out of 45 bites documented over the previous eight years, there have been no fatalities.

Since there were dozens of snakes in this incredible den, it’s remarkable to note that not a single rattlesnake bit the cameraman in this video. In fact, they all seem to slither away from the camera. Everything relates to the fact that the vast majority of rattlesnake species undoubtedly fear people more than we do them. 

Depending on the species, rattlesnakes can reach lengths of 1 to 8 feet. They might have different colors, but they all have patterned skin. The eyes of rattlers all have a black slit and a triangle-shaped skull. Despite the fact that rattlesnake venom is dangerous to people, they don’t intend to harm us. Typically, they only attack when they’re frightened or disturbed.

Most snakes just want to be left alone so they may relax in the sun or go hunting for their preferred prey, small animals, and amphibians. Den locations this size are often rare in most environments. 

Where to Find Montana Rattlesnakes

Montana is a beautiful state, with vast landscapes that are home to a variety of wildlife. One species of wildlife that residents and visitors alike should be aware of is the rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes are a type of venomous snake that can be found in Montana, particularly in the eastern and southeastern parts of the state.

When it comes to finding rattlesnakes in Montana, the first thing to understand is their habitat. Rattlesnakes prefer dry and rocky terrain, such as prairies, badlands, and foothills. They also tend to stay close to a source of water, such as a river or creek. In Montana, rattlesnakes are most commonly found in the eastern and southeastern parts of the state, where the terrain is dry and rocky.

One of the best places to find rattlesnakes in Montana is Makoshika State Park. Located in the eastern part of the state, this park features badlands and prairies that are home to several species of snakes, including rattlesnakes. Visitors to the park are advised to be cautious when hiking or exploring, as rattlesnakes may be hiding in the rocks or tall grass.

Another place to find rattlesnakes in Montana is the Pryor Mountains, located in the southeastern part of the state. This rugged range is home to a variety of wildlife, including rattlesnakes. Visitors to the area should be aware of the potential for encounters with snakes and take precautions to avoid getting too close.

It is important to note that while rattlesnakes can be found in Montana, encounters with humans are rare.

Snake, Fang, Rattlesnake, Poisonous, Aggression Snake, Fang, Rattlesnake, Poisonous, Aggression

Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes are responsible for the greatest number of snakebites in the U.S.

©iStock.com/johnaudrey

One comment on the video alludes to another den location, โ€œThere is a den similar to that in Northern Colorado in Weld county. They call it a colony cause of the multiple dens combined to make one huge winter hibernation den.โ€ As the weather becomes cooler and the pit vipers brumate, they frequently congregate in locations like this.

Are Huge Dens Of Snakes Common?

A Black-tailed Rattlesnake, Crotalus molossus, striking at a prey or a threat

Black-tailed rattlesnakes are venomous pit vipers native to Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico.

©Joe McDonald/Shutterstock.com

During the summer, most snakes are solitary creatures. They spread out looking for food and good hiding places. As winter approaches, they seek each other out in their den so that they can brumate together. Dens this large are rare, but it is common for snakes to have dens for the winter.

They may only have a few snakes in them rather than this huge congregation. Why are some dens so large? It is likely because of the number of snakes in the region and environmental conditions that allow such a large group to come together.

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if itโ€™s a cold autumn day!

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