Timber Rattlesnake Documented in Howard County, MD

The Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) was a 5-year survey (2010-2014) to systematically document amphibian and reptile distributions throughout Maryland.  The MARA mapping now complete, documents the distribution of amphibians and reptiles, and is an important monitoring tool as it has established a baseline to compare similar efforts in the future.  During the 5-year period, I submitted dozens of voucher photographs to prove my field observations, as is necessary to “confirm” a species as occurring in any respective quad block throughout the State.

I live in Clarksville, Howard County, Maryland, which comprises four quad blocks, Clarksville, Savage, Sykesville and Woodbine.  The poisonous copperhead has been documented in three of the four quads in the County, including Savage, Sykesville and Woodbine.  Timber rattlesnake has never been confirmed in Howard County, although historic records indicate occasional sightings in the Patapsco drainage.  County volunteers have made it a priority to document presence/absence of timber rattlers through the five-year MARA study, with none having ever been observed or photographed.

The following link documents the results of the five-year MARA study, of 16 snakes species occurring within Howard County:

https://webapps02.dnr.state.md.us/mara/default.aspx?strSelection=SystemStats

The records have just changed, as a Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks’s employee by the name of Ryan Lintz took a photo on his cell phone of a Timber Rattlesnake taken in a county park during the week of October 2, 2017.  This is the first confirmed record of this species in Howard County.  This species is listed by the state on the RTE (Rare, Threatened & Endangered) list as a “Watch List” species meaning it is considered vulnerable.

Photo Credit – Ryan Lintz

Timber rattlesnakes are more or less confined to the western Maryland panhandle, including Garrett, Allegheny, Washington and Frederick counties, in upland forests associated with rock outcrop slopes.