Have you ever had one of those times when you regretted not having your camera on hand? I had one of those moments this past weekend and I’m still kicking myself for not having one with me. I even debated whether or not to post this since I have no, as they say “proof of purchase” to confirm my encounter. Regardless, this is the place to document my exciting discoveries – right? So if you would, just take my word for it and hopefully next time I will have my camera with me!
On Sunday, my daughter and I headed out in my pick-up truck to the local landfill to unload some of the never-ending stuff that seems to collect in the black hole I call a garage (I’m sure some of you can relate). On our exit out of the landfill I approached a car in front of us that was stopped. As I slowed down behind the car something caught my eye. Out from in front of the stopped car came slithering a large snake. Virginia is home to a variety of snakes, many I have encountered before, but this one was unlike any I had come across in the wild. A quick look at its tail verified it for me – a real live, non-captive, Canebrake Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)!
I knew these snakes were around but had never encountered one. As a matter of fact, they are listed as endangered here in the state of Virginia. My daughter and I watched the 4-1/2 + foot snake safely from inside our vehicle as it slowly crossed the 2-lane road and disappeared in the grass and wooded area surrounding the roadway. Snakes aren’t on the top of my list of animals I want to encounter, but this one was a sight to behold.
Canebrakes are large, venomous snakes that can grow over 5 feet in length. Males grow larger than females. It has a triangular head and a pit below each eye. The black tail is tipped with a rattle.
Below is a photo of the canebrake rattlesnake taken by the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries:
The canebrake is sometimes referred to as the timber rattlesnake, or vice versa. It was once thought the two were separate species but is now considered to be just another color phase.