Wildlife officials investigating habitat of 57-inch timber rattlesnake found dead in Harrison County

TAPPAN LAKE, Ohio — A 57-inch timber rattlesnake has been found dead in a Harrison County town, about 100 miles north of it’s usual southern Ohio habitat.  Now, wildlife officers are checking to see if there are more snakes.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, a bystander saw the snake get hit by a vehicle on October 24 on Harrison County Road 55, about 400 yards south of U.S. Route 250 on  the east end of Tappan Lake.  The snake died shortly after the incident.

The Division of Wildlife said that due to their large size, timber rattlesnakes are the most dangerous snakes in northeastern America. However, most of the snakes have mild dispositions when approached, unless otherwise provoked.

The timber rattlesnake reportedly found home in 25 Ohio counties before 1800, but now is actually an endangered species and only known to be found in 7 Ohio counties.

State Wildlife Officer Nicholas Turner said that timber rattlesnakes are usually two to four-feet long, but the one found in Harrison County was nearly five-feet long.  Turner said, “It is one of the largest that has been seen in Ohio.”

Turner said that this is not the first timber rattlesnake to be discovered near Tappan Lake.  Last summer they received a report of a snake crossing the road less than a mile from where the 57-inch snake was killed.

Biologists from the Division of Wildlife are reportedly testing the snake’s DNA to determine if this is in fact a snake that had moved into the area from southern Ohio or if there’s a timber rattlesnake population in Harrison County.

Turner said that if anyone sees a timber rattlesnake to report it to the Division of Wildlife and “do not antagonize it.”

He said that though striking is not their first line of defense, and he doesn’t know of anyone being bit by one, that timber rattlesnakes can be dangerous to humans.