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Nashua;71.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nbkn.png;2014-07-31 21:41:20
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spotting a rattlesnake in New York (I'll probably never see the few that live in N.H.)

The Eastern timber rattlesnake is invariably described as shy and retiring, so my family was rather surprised to find one sitting quietly right next to a hiking trail last weekend in the southern Adirondacks. It stared at us and we stared at him/her. The above photo isn't very good, but we didn't dare get any closer.

It's the first time any of us have seen a rattlesnake. Since the only population in New Hampshire is tiny and its location kept a secret to protect it, I had never expected to see an example of our only poisonous snake. The timber rattler was once relatively common in southern New England - we're at the northern end of its range - but is endangered for all the usual reasons. In Vermont they're even doing some radio tracking to help protect it.

OUr siting was along a ridgeline hike on small (2000-foot-ish) hills, on a promentory sticking out into Lake George. New York wildlife officials describe that ridge as having the biggest rattlesnake population in that state, so the sighting wasn't quite as unusual as I'd thought. Still, it was pretty cool.