August 20, 2022

Science Saturday: Unique, New Rattlesnake at MS Museum of Natural Science

Mary Apel

Visitors to MDWFP’s Mississippi Museum of Natural Science can now see a rare, uniquely colored, canebrake rattlesnake and learn more about this species!

“The Museum was alerted about this snake by private landowners in Yazoo County, MS and we are excited to have it,” said Museum Director Charles Knight. “Once at the Museum, the snake was held behind the scenes for several months receiving the best of care from our devoted staff as it acclimated to its new home. It is doing well and has now been placed on public display for all to see,” said Knight.

Rather than having the typical distinct black chevron markings on a gray or tan body, this rattlesnake has a muted pattern with orange eyes and pale pinkish-brown body coloration. It exhibits a type of albinism that results in less, but not a complete absence, of dark pigments.

Canebrake, or timber, rattlesnakes can be found across much of Mississippi, though are rare near the Gulf Coast which is primarily diamondback rattlesnake territory. They are generally shy and secretive, and their numbers are declining across their range. Adult canebrake rattlesnakes average about 4 feet in length but may occasionally reach lengths of about 6 feet.

The museum is located at 2148 Riverside Drive in Jackson, Mississippi. Museum admission is: $8 for adults, $6 for youth ages 3-18, and $7 for senior citizens ages 60 or is included with Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Foundation Membership. Visitors can get more details about the museum and plan their visit at or by calling 601-576-6000.

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