Arboreal behavior in the timber rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus, in eastern Texas


There have been several recent reports, and anecdotal observations extending back at least to J. J. Audubon, suggesting that the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) is one of the most arboreal members of the genus. Most previous records are of snakes located at heights of less than 5 m. Telemetry studies in eastern Texas have documented more frequent arboreal activity (16.1 % of locations of sub-adult snakes) and at greater heights (up to 14.5 m) than previously reported. Unlike previous reports, observations of arboreal activity were restricted to sub-adult snakes (<90 cm SVL), possibly because adult snakes in the current study area are considerably larger than those in other areas where arboreal activity has been documented. Increasing body size and mass may preclude arboreal behavior in larger individuals of this species. Despite considerable speculation on the motivation(s) for arboreal activity in this species, the factors involved remain unclear.

  • Citation: Rudolph, D. Craig; Schaefer, R. R.; Saenz, D.; Conner, R. N. 2004. Arboreal behavior in the timber rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus, in eastern Texas. Texas Journal of Science. 56(4):395-404.

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