Canebrake Rattlesnake


Actual Size: 3-5 feet long

Characteristics: Also referred to as the timber rattlesnake or the banded rattlesnake. Canebrake rattlesnakes are venomous, and the only rattlesnake populous in the northeastern part of the United States. They have a pattern of dark crossbands, often resembling V or M-shaped zig-zags, on a yellowish-born or gray background. Some variants are almost completely black.


  • Canebrake rattlesnakes prefer to live in forests, preferably with sunny, rocky knolls available.
  • They will often hibernate in dens with copperheads or black rat snakes.
  • Canebrake rattlesnakes are some of the most dangerous snakes in North America, due to their large size, fang length, and venom yield.
  • They are a relatively mild species, and have a long “warning” period before they strike.

Also known as timber rattlesnakes, canebrake rattlesnakes are typically a gray color but may have a pink hue to their skin. They possess the signature rattlers at their tail, which range in color from brown to black or even yellow. Canebrake rattlesnakes are found in a wide variety of environments, from swamp or river floodplains to pine forests, rural habitats, and more. They are, on average, four feet long but some have been recorded to grow to 6 feet long.

Canebrake Rattlesnake Behaviors

These snakes are most active during the spring and summer, and are active both night and day. When temperatures begin to drop in the fall, these snakes will prepare to hibernate during the winter. They feed on small mammals, such as rabbits, rats, mice, birds, and squirrels. Although this snake is typically calm, they are extremely dangerous if threatened. As with all rattlesnakes, they will shake their rattle as a warning sign before striking.

Eliminating and Preventing Canebrake Rattlesnakes from Returning to Your Property

Attempting to remove snakes from your property without the help of professionals can be a very costly mistake. Of course, one of the biggest dangers is that the snake will be venomous, and you or someone else could be bitten during the process. Even in Northern Virginia, venomous snakes are fairly rare, but they are present and a pest control expert will be able to correctly identify the species and implement the correct trapping and removal techniques.

There are additional problems that could arise even if you do successfully trap and remove the snake. The appearance of one snake on your property could be a sign that you have a nest elsewhere. The snake removal specialists at Ehrlich Pest Control can find and eliminate the larger snake problem.

After addressing any existing snake problems within your residential or commercial property, our pest control team will help you to prevent future snake problems. This includes identifying and sealing any areas around your building where snakes could enter and create a nest. We will also provide you with tips that will make your surrounding property less attractive to snakes and other common Northern Virginia pests.