Huge Montana Rattlesnake Den Will Give You Nightmares

Written by Kirstin Opal
Published: July 21, 2022
Image Credit Rusty Dodson/
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Think You Know Snakes?

Key Points:

  • Rattlesnakes are big, venomous reptiles with triangular-shaped skulls and a distinctive rattle at the end of their tails.
  • Snakes are cold blooded and unable to survive cold weather without finding a den to hibernate 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.

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. 

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.

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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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 poisonous. 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. 

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.

One comment on the video alludes to another den location, “There 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.” As the weather becomes cooler and the pit vipers hibernate, they frequently congregate in locations like this.

Are Huge Dens Of Snakes Common?

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 hibernate 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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Rusty Dodson/
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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, her 14-year-old dog, or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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