Get Off Trail
The first step to finding a rattlesnake is to get away from areas frequented by humans. While encounters with rattlers do happen on trails, in picnic areas, and even around visitor centers, they are rare. Rattlesnakes in general are not very aggressive when only moderately threatened, and seek to avoid confrontations. Moving away from areas frequented by humans will greatly increase the chances of finding a rattlesnake in the park. When on the paths and hiking trails, go off trail and walk at least a quarter of a mile before starting any serious search for rattlesnakes.
Letchworth New York State Park
1 Letchworth State Park
Castile, NY 14427
Tel: (585) 493-3600
Rattlesnakes are cold blooded, and soaking up the warming rays of the sun is critical in their metabolic processes. It is not uncommon to see them sunning themselves on rocks after a big meal, or on a crisp early spring or late autumn day. Large stones with good exposure to the sun are the best and safest places to look for rattlers in Letchworth Park. During mid-to-late summer, the temperature is high enough that the rattlers do not need to sun themselves atop rocks very often, so don't bother looking for them there. If a rattlensake is seen on a rock, it can be safely approached up to a distance of 10 feet from the snake. The snake will rattle, but is much more likely to leave than attack so far outside its striking distance.
In The Woods
The other place to look for rattlers is in the woods, which will prove to be the only place to find them in the summer. Rattlers like to feed on small mammals, birds, and frogs. The timber rattler will try to kill and eat smaller snakes, including the pygmy rattler. In a place like Letchworth Park, the best place during the summer to to look for snakes is the couple of hundred yards of forest next to the river. Be very careful. The rattlesnakes will probably be in hiding underneath leaves and other debris, making an active search for them extremely dangerous. The best strategy is to pick an area where the forest is thin, choose an observation point, and look for the telltale rustling in the leaves that indicates a big snake is moving.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.