HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Snakes are common in Appalachia, and rattlesnakes are one species that call northern Georgia home. Brasstown Bald is hosting a seminar entitled ‘Rattlesnakes of Appalachia’ on Saturday, July 7, 2018. The program begins at 2:00 p.m. at the Brasstown Bald Visitors Center. Dr. Chris Jenkins, director and snake researcher with the Orianne Society, will teach the class which will feature a live timber rattlesnake. The Orianne Society is a Georgia-based organization, tasked with conserving critical ecosystems for at risk reptiles and amphibians. Park entry is $5.00, and the program is included in the price of admission. Children are admitted at no charge.
According to researchers, the eastern timber rattlesnake population is declining in North Georgia, and the reason is thought to be due to agricultural and urban development. The reptiles typically dwell in heavily wooded areas and rock formations on hillsides. While timber rattlesnakes bites are highly venomous, attacks to humans are rare. The snakes rely on their camouflaged appearance to avoid confrontation, often remaining calm and coiled when approached, with a preference of slithering away rather than lunging. However, if threatened, the snake will rise and rattle its notorious tail, a warning that the creature is set to strike.
Timber rattlesnakes are characterized by their thick, heavy-bodies, and dark chevron-shaped markings which rest against a lighter background, with adult snakes maturing to 36 to 48 inches in length.
Timber rattlesnakes, also known as canebreakers, often hibernate in large numbers during the winter months. The primary diet of the snakes consist mainly of rodents, and occasionally birds that perch within reach.
According to the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, only six of the 42 species of snakes in the state of Georgia are venomous.
Brasstown Bald is located at 2941 Hwy. 180 Spur in Towns County. The Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Additional information can be acquired by dialing 706-896-2556