Given the terrain, you probably wouldn't expect this type of snake to be in our area - but they are.

This was proven to me during the first beautiful weekend we've had in months. It finally felt like spring, so my husband and I decided to hike to King's Bluff at Great River Bluffs State Park.

This park is known for its awesome overlooks over the Mississippi, but it's also got some surprises... well, a surprise to me anyway. Timber rattlesnakes can be found in this park. There are signs warning hikers of this. It's something to be aware of as we explore the outdoors more.

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When a lot of us think "rattlesnake", we have the old west image of them sitting on a rocky surface near cattle skulls with cowboys riding by. We only imagine them to be in places in the West.

This is kinda true. You see, western diamondback rattlesnakes are the ones you're thinking of. Closer to home (and especially near the Mississippi River), you'll find timber rattlesnakes.

One of only two venomous snakes in Minnesota (the other being the Massasauga, which is smaller), timber rattlers like bluffs, prairies and water... so that explains why you'll find them near us.

Minnesota Seasons described what they look like, saying, "The head is triangular. The body is marked with dark brown to black chevron-shaped bands and a brown mid-dorsal stripe. The tail is black and ends in a rattle with 1 to 13 or more segments." Their habitat: "Steep, south and southwest facing bluff prairies with rock outcroppings near a forest." So, there ya go - Great River Bluffs State Park.

What do you do if you find one? Back away slowly and make as little noise as possible. We can share space with them, and we certainly don't want either to get hurt.

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