What species of snakes are native or indigenous to PA?
Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake
Black Rat Snake
Eastern Hognose Snake
Eastern King Snake
Eastern Milk Snake
Eastern Ribbon Snake
Eastern Worm Snake
Northern Brown Snake
Northern Ring-Neck Snake
Northern Water Snake
Rough Green Snake
Smooth Earth Snake
Smooth Green Snake
Do you need a permit to possess a timber rattlesnake or to keep one as a pet?
The person in possession of the snake would have to obtain a Venomous Snake Permit from the Fish and Boat Commission prior to obtaining the snake. The snake would then have to be legally collected from the wild in during the open season and in compliance with size and possession limits
A timber rattlesnake obtained from the wild in without a permit would be illegal to possess. Timber rattlesnakes may not be imported into from other states or countries. It is illegal to breed timber rattlesnakes (or most other native reptiles and amphibians) in captivity
I heard that black rat snakes and copperheads are breeding and their offspring resemble the black rat snake but are as venomous as the copperhead. Is that true?
No, that’s false. It is impossible for the black rat snake and copperhead to successfully breed. These two species of snakes have two different reproductive strategies. The copperhead give birth to live young encased in a sac while the black rat snake lays eggs which then incubate for two to three months. These two distinctively contrasting methods of reproduction make it impossible for these to species to breed.
IDENTIFY AND GET RID OF VENOMOUS SNAKES
You’ve come across a snake in your garden, woodpile, or anywhere else around your home, so the first question you need to get answered is whether it’s venomous. The second question—regardless of the answer to the first—is how to get it to go away. Good news: You don’t have to be an expert to answer either of those questions. Here’s all you need to know.
FOUR TO BEWARE OF
Let’s start with a brief clarification. Scientists and other reptile experts refer to snakes as venomous rather than poisonous. A creature (or plant) that is poisonous contains toxins that cause you harm when you bite into it. A venomous snake injects you with a toxin when it bites you.
you’ll encounter only four types of snakes that are venomous. Three of them—cottonmouths, copperheads, and rattlesnakes—are different kinds of pit vipers. The fourth is the coral snake, a colorful species that looks very similar to other nonvenomous species.
Cottonmouths are dark in color, from green to black, with vertical dark lines by each nostril. They are most frequently found around water, which is why they are sometimes known as water moccasins. They get the name cottonmouth from the bright white lining inside of their mouths, quite visible when they open it as a warning to predators. Cottonmouths are most abundant in the southeastern and southwestern United States and are known to hang around irrigation ditches, swamps, and other soggy areas. Intense pain occurs immediately with a cottonmouth bite and is accompanied by bleeding, swelling, and muscle weakness. Loss of muscle function and even paralysis can follow. Fortunately, the effects abate after treatment with an antidote
Copperheads’ bodies range from brown to bright orange and even peachy, but their heads are almost always the color of copper. Young ones typically have yellow tails. Most years, copperheads account for more bites of people than the other venomous species, but they also have the mildest venom, so those bites are almost never lethal. Pain and swelling start quickly around a copperhead bite and spread out to the limbs. Numbness, nausea, and a rapid pulse may follow. These snakes live in rocky areas near swamps, ponds, and streams, and they can be found
Snake Country Survival Guide
Worried about snakes at home? Killing or moving snakes is a quick fix, not a solution. Moving a snake far from her home may be a death sentence for her and is a temporary fix for you — where there’s one, there’s likely to be more. Learn to live safely with snakes and appreciate your encounters.
More snakes = less disease! Snakes eat vectors and carriers of many diseases, including The Plague and Lyme disease.
Snakes are effective, all-natural pest control. Snakes won’t raid your garden or chew up your wires, but they will eat the critters that do. And due to their non-competitive nature and ability to fast for long periods, vipers (rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths) are more effective at controlling prey populations than bird or mammal predators.
Still don’t want vipers for neighbors? Make friends with other snakes! Kingsnakes, racers, and other non-venomous snakes eat venomous snakes. Others, like gophersnakes and bullsnakes, compete with venomous snakes for food.
Killing or handling snakes is a good way to get bit
Most bites happen to people who try to handle or kill snakes; the rest are due to people not watching where they put their hands or feet. Once you spot a snake, the risk of a bite is virtually zero since you can keep a safe distance. Snakes presumed dead can and do bite.
Who can remove a snake from my garden or house?
A licensed local herpetologist will catch and relocate a snake for a fee. All snakes are protected and killing one is an offence. Only licensed people are allowed to catch or keep snakes.
Wildlife organisations do not catch snakes unless they are injured or there is a serious threat. However, they can suggest ways to encourage the snake to move away.
How to deter snakes
You can make your garden less attractive to snakes by keeping shrubs trimmed, lawns mowed and the garden generally tidy. Remove any piles of rubble, wood, roof sheeting or leaf clippings where snakes can shelter.
Snakes may lay eggs in compost heaps and garbage piles. Food sources such as rodents, frogs or birds encourage them to stay, so snake-proof any refuse bins, ponds and aviaries with fine mesh. If snakes are residing under your home, consider blocking their access after they have been removed.
Are all snakes dangerous? Snakes are not naturally aggressive and prefer to retreat. They will only attack humans if hurt or provoked – most bites occur when people try to kill or capture snakes. As snakes are a sign of a healthy ecosystem it can be wiser to overcome your fears instead.
Dealing With Snakes – Safely Handling Encounters
The vast majority of encounters between people and snakes are with non-venomous, harmless snakes. It is critical that you understand that snakes aren’t “aggressive” and don’t hunt or chase people, but they can strike without coiling first. Belief in myths such as these can cause people to behave rashly during an encounter, creating an unsafe situation for themselves and for the snake. Above all else, if you encounter a snake, try your best to remain calm! Snakes would rather not encounter humans, and it is probably as scary for them as it is for you.
Keep children and pets away while you try to identify the snake as venomous or non-venomous – from a safe distance. Keep in mind that snakes will usually try to escape to the nearest cover, so try not to stand between them and bushes or other cover. When they’re startled, some snakes will flatten their heads and puff up to make themselves look more intimidating. A snake may also act defensive or try to strike when cornered, so give it space! Remember – releasing a smelly musk and striking are a snake’s only defenses, since it has no claws. Some non-venomous snakes will rattle their tails when they feel threatened — this can sound like a rattlesnake if they are in dry leaves.
After you identify the snake, or at least determine that it is non-venomous, the best course of action is to simply “let it be.” It will probably soon be on its way. If you feel that you must remove the snake from your yard, spray it gently with a water hose to send it on its way while keeping your distance. If you find a snake in your pool, you can use a long handled leaf skimmer to gently remove the snake, as it may not be able to get out on its own if it is small or exhausted from swimming. If the snake is venomous or you’re not sure of its identity, take a digital photograph and contact a professional! Don’t try to handle the snake yourself!
Try to identify the snake as venomous or non-venomous from a safe distance while keeping children and pets away. Most snakes found inside Florida residences are non-venomous, and can be easily and safely removed using a large wastebasket or outdoor trashcan with a lid and a broom. Tip the trashcan onto its side, and use the broom to gently “chase” the snake into the trashcan. Then, tip the trashcan upright and, taking care to keep your hands away from the open top, replace the lid. You can then easily transport and release the snake in a nearby natural area. A full description of this technique, with accompanying photographs
You MUST check these traps every day so that trapped snakes don’t die from lack of moisture and begin to smell. Captured non-venomous snakes can easily be set free at a nearby natural area by pouring vegetable oil onto the snake to release it from the glue. If you find a snake in the garage and can’t capture it with a trashcan or glue board, simply close the door to your house and crack open the external doors to allow the snake to escape