Timber Rattlesnake

What is it?
First Aid
Prevention Tips

What is a timber rattlesnake?

The timber rattlesnake is a poisonous pit viper found in the eastern United States, usually in wooded areas. Limited numbers of timber rattlesnakes live in parts of southern New Hampshire and southern Vermont. There are none in Maine.

Timber rattlesnakes have flat heads shaped like a triangle or a diamond, with a classic rattle at the end of their tail. They often have dark V or M-shaped markings along their body. They usually live in wooded areas.

Timber rattlesnakes typically only bite humans if they are upset or scared.

What are the symptoms of a timber rattlesnake bite?

If you are bitten by a timber rattlesnake you will have pain at the bite site, and the area will likely become swollen within the next few hours. The swelling can be severe. Over the next few days it may change colors (red, black and blue) and form large blisters.

You may have other symptoms in the first few hours:

  • Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up
  • A metallic or unusual taste in your mouth
  • Numbness or tingling around your mouth, arms and legs
  • Weakness
  • Muscle twitching
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Severe swelling in your tongue and lips, which can block your airway

A person with severe symptoms who does not get treatment may die.

Not every timber rattlesnake bite causes a poisoning, but if you have been bitten, it is important to get medical help right away.

What should I do if someone has been bitten by a timber rattlesnake?

If you someone has been bitten by a timber rattlesnake, it’s important to get medical help right away.

First, remove all jewelry, keep the bite area steady and arrange to get to the nearest hospital. Then call the poison center right away at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 85511.

A person with severe symptoms who does not get treatment may die. If someone has passed out or is not breathing, call 911 right away.

How can I prevent rattlesnake bites?

Timber rattlesnakes are very rare in northern New England. Those that do live in the area tend to be active in warmer weather, and may be found sunning near logs, boulders or open areas. A rattlesnake will use its rattle as a warning if it feels threatened.

Here are some tips for avoiding snake bites:

  • Do not pick up or handle any snake.
  • Wear boots and long pants when working outdoors.
  • Wear leather gloves when handling brush and debris.


Last Updated: Tuesday July 19th 2016