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Timber Rattlesnakes are one of the remaining symbols of Pennslvania's wilderness areas. They are also one of the most misunderstood yet fascinating creatures in the Commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission works with state and federal partners to manage priority habitats on public lands to benefit the Timber Rattlesnake. Commission staff also work closely with partners during development consultations on public land. If the Timber Rattlesnae is to remain a stable member of Pennsylvania's fauna, these partnerships are vital for the management of this species and ensuring that it stays off Pennsylvania's endangered species list.

The PFBC has been working with its partners to implement actions toward the conservation of the species and developed a Species Action Plan for the Timber Rattlesnake. The PFBC sought public comments on the status change for Timber Rattlesnakes before removing the species from the list of Pennsylvania's candidate species in 2016.


PFBC Waterways Conservation Officers are trained to handle venomous snakes. Call a local officer to have them safely capture the snake and relocate it to a suitable area nearby. If you see a snake, of any species, do not kill or attempt to move or capture it. Instead, retreat calmly and allow the animal to continue its course or seek cover.


A permit is required to hunt, take, catch, kill or possess Timber Rattlesnakes and Eastern Copperhead snakes. Permits can only be purchased from an issuing agent. Venomous Snake Permit holders must submit a catch report regardless if they did not hunt or hunted and did not harvest.


The Timber Rattlesnake is legally protected in Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Natural Diversity Section comments statewide on development projects that have potential to adversely impact Timber Rattlesnake populations. The Natural Diversity Section is also involved with research projects on monitoring, inventory and den viability that are being conducted on Pennsylvania Timber Rattlesnakes.