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Apex predator or small meal?

Posted on Sep 15, 2014

When looking at a “teenage” Timber Rattlesnake from above like this it seems rather insignificant and certainly unimposing. We know it is a venomous snake, which may add a bit of intimidation, but we should also know it is shy, passive and uninterested in harming a human unless it is being directly threatened. At this time of year there are much smaller Timber Rattlesnakes – some less than a foot long – in the form of neonates. These newly-born young have fangs and venom but a significant percentage will perish in their first year from a variety of threats. Twan believes one of the biggest predators of young and/or small snakes as well as many amphibians are several species of birds, in particular the Blue Jay and the Wild Turkey. Yep, that’s right, those “vicious” rattlesnakes may be devoured with ease by an attack from above by birds as harmless as they. Perhaps some of the population explosion of those backyard bird species and the reintroduction of the expatriated Wild Turkey to places like Connecticut may be partially to blame for a decrease in other forest amphibians and reptiles.

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) habitat