- Out of all the recognized snake species, only about 600 species are actually venomous, and only 200 of those have enough potency to cause significant damage to humans.
- All rattlesnakes are indigenous to the Americas and may be found there from southern Canada to Argentina.
- One of the most hazardous creatures in the eastern United States is said to be the timber rattlesnake.
- A rare blonde timber rattlesnake was found and captured and is now on display at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.
- Instead of the usual dark-colored skin, the skin of this particular snake is blonde, as it is almost an albino.
Snakes are some of the most fascinating animals ever to exist. Although the snakes of the present are not as huge or intimidating as some of the ones that existed thousands of years ago, they are still very menacing. There are currently over 4,000 recognized snake species, both venomous and otherwise. As the name implies, venomous snakes are ones that carry venom that is deadly to both humans and other animals.
Out of all the recognized snake species, only about 600 species are actually venomous, and only 200 of those have enough potency to cause significant damage to humans. Of all venomous snakes, rattlesnakes are some of the most popular. Despite being plentiful, there are still some species of this snake that are rare finds. Keep reading to discover the rare, blonde timber rattlesnake that was found and is now on display in Mississippi.
With a rattle at the end of their tails, rattlesnakes are dangerous snakes that are easily identified. The rattle at the end of their tails is used to alert other animals of their presence. As members of the pit viper family, rattlesnakes employ their potent venom to immobilize their prey as it prevents blood clotting, kills internal organs, and, in the absence of antivenom, can also kill people.
All rattlesnakes, which range in number from 36 species to 65 to 70 subspecies, are indigenous to the Americas and may be found from southern Canada to Argentina. Rattlesnakes have large, strongly ridged scales on their hefty bodies. Depending on their species and location, their color varies. However, the majority have lighter-colored backgrounds with dark patterns made of diamonds or other geometric designs.
One of the most interesting species of rattlesnakes is the timber rattlesnake, also known as the canebrake rattlesnake. They are some of the most common venomous snakes in the eastern United States. These snakes also have other names in different parts of the country, such as black rattlesnake, American viper, banded rattlesnake, etc. Like other rattlesnakes, these snakes should be avoided as much as possible because of the venom they carry. Additionally, like other rattlesnakes, they have a distinctive rattle at the end of their tails comprising hollow keratin chambers. When a timber rattlesnake shakes its tail, the chambers bang against one another, creating a rattling sound.
How To Identify Timber Rattlesnakes
The dark vertical zig-zag bands, which are often black or dark brown in color and contrast with the snake’s normally gray, brown, or almost pinkish body, help to distinguish the timber rattlesnake from other species in its genus. There is also a reddish-brown stripe running down the center of the back. Juveniles and baby timber rattlesnakes resemble adults in appearance, with the exception of the single button on the rattle and the stripe running from the eyes to the jaw.
Adults typically range in length from 3 to 5 feet, although there are a few exceptions that can grow as long as 7 feet. Although the sexes seem to be similar to one another, there is a distinct size difference. Males weigh about 2 pounds and females weigh about 1.3 pounds.
Rare Timber Rattlesnake
Recently, a rare timber rattlesnake was found and captured and is now on display at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. What makes this snake rare is its skin color; this timber rattlesnake is nothing like other timber rattlesnakes. Instead of the usual dark-colored skin, the skin of this particular snake is blonde, as it is almost an albino. The timber rattlesnake stood out in the wild and, statistically speaking, should not have survived due to a genetic abnormality that gave it a creamy-blond appearance.
Experts identified the genetic abnormality as a genetic condition called T-positive, which affects its coloration. This condition caused a reduction of pigmentation but not a total loss caused by T-negative. According to experts, snakes born with this condition are rarer than snakes born as complete albinos, with just one in a few thousand. Because these snakes do not have enough coloration that would ideally help them camouflage in the wild, the chances of them growing into adults and surviving are very slim. This snake captured is one of the few snakes with this condition that survived, making it even rarer.
The snake was found by a woman in the woods, and although she was initially scared because of its proximity to her face, she went back to take a closer look after realizing how rare the snake looked. Concerned for its safety, she called the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. The experts came, captured the snake, and put it in the museum where it is today, attracting many visitors.
Where Can Timber Rattlesnakes Be Found?
In the eastern United States, timber rattlesnakes can be found in a variety of habitats, including rocky hills, hardwood woods, marshes, and agricultural areas. The preferred habitat of timber rattlesnakes is moist lowland forests and hilly woodlands or thickets close to perennial water sources including rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, and swamps where tree stumps, logs, and branches offer shelter. They were once found as far north as Canada. Timber rattlers are the common name for snakes that live at higher altitudes. Canebrakes are the common name for snakes that live at lower elevations, particularly in parts of their habitat that are close to the shore.
Are Timber Rattlesnakes Aggressive?
One of the most hazardous creatures in the eastern United States is said to be the timber rattlesnake. They can deliver a lot of venom thanks to their enormous size and long fangs. The venom of the snake’s bite begins to cause pain, swelling, excessive bleeding, and a variety of neurological symptoms right away.
Despite being very dangerous, timber rattlesnakes are not aggressive. The snake will not strike until it has engaged in a protracted series of rattling and defensive actions, and unless it is directly provoked or threatened. Usually, it will choose to flee and hide. The likelihood of being bitten is very low as long as you are aware of your surroundings and don’t unintentionally surprise this snake off guard. Even if you get bitten, as long as you receive immediate treatment, there is not much cause for alarm.
Albino Vs. Leucistic Snakes
|Genetic Mutation||Prevents the production of melanin||Reduction in the production of melanin|
|Eye Color||Red||Pigmented (blue, gray, black)|
|Skin Color||White, or “red-orange pigmented”. Pigments are not affected by albinism; Snakes with high amounts of carotenoids may still be colored||White, blotchy, or pale.|
|Common||Partial albinism is more common; total albinism is very rare.||Very rare|
Other Dangerous Animals Found In Mississippi
The yellow sac spider may not be as dangerous as the black widow or the brown recluse but it is still a venomous spider that will cause you serious discomfort. A painful bite that first causes itching and swelling, it usually takes around seven to ten days before symptoms are completely gone. This arachnid can be recognized by its pale yellow-beige complexion and has dark brown markings on its jaws, antennae and the ends of its feet. Mostly found in the foliage of trees and shrubs, they are nocturnal aren’t commonly run into by humans.
While it may not seem likely, there are sharks found in the Mississippi river. The bull shark, with its flat, broad snout and aggressive behavior has a history of traveling up the mighty Mississippi and near the Gulf Coast. Unlike most sharks, the bull shark is able to thrive in both salt and fresh water and can be spotted near the shore on occasion in search of food. Considered the most aggressive shark species, they generally live near high-population areas and can reach weights of up to 500 lbs and heights of over 11 feet tall.
Discover the "Monster" Snake 5X Bigger than an Anaconda
Every day A-Z Animals sends out some of the most incredible facts in the world from our free newsletter. Want to discover the 10 most beautiful snakes in the world, a "snake island" where you're never more than 3 feet from danger, or a "monster" snake 5X larger than an anaconda? Then sign up right now and you'll start receiving our daily newsletter absolutely free.
The Featured Image
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.
- Brian Broom, Available here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/09/26/mississippi-rare-timber-rattlesnake-display-museum/8122198001/
- , Available here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/he-s-a-special-snake-rare-blonde-timber-rattlesnake-now-on-display-in-mississippi/ar-AA12gFey?cvid=57dbcd88b53949029a8047e910a5e698&ocid=winp2sv1plustaskbar