A Black-phased Timber Rattlesnake spotted by @mamaskistoo while hiking in Rothrock State Forest!
Often feared and misunderstood, Timber Rattlesnakes are an unaggressive species that almost always avoids humans if they can help it. The forested ridges of Central Pa, such as you will find in Rothrock State Forest and other State Forest districts in Pennsylvania, represent the largest remaining areas of habitat in the Northeast United States for this Species of Special Concern.
A number of different actions can be taken to avoid any potentially dangerous encounters with these venomous snakes.
While walking through tall grass and brushy areas wear loose fitting full length pants and high-topped leather boots and walk at a normal pace to avoid surprising a snake. Before sitting on or stepping on, next to, or over a log or rock check around it for any snakes that may be sheltering against it. Before reaching into any rock piles or bushes always carefully look for snakes. Under no circumstances should you attempt to handle a Rattlesnake, even if it appears to be dead.
Should you come across one DCNR always recommends you remain a minimum of 3' from the snake. If it is in the middle of the trail and appears to refuse to move simply work your way around it or walk back the way you came and wait a couple of minutes. When you come back the snake will usually have moved on.