What you need to know about Rattlesnakes and Copperheads
Of the 22 species of snakes found in New Jersey, only the timber rattlesnake and the northern copperhead are venomous, and each of these species is generally shy.
Snakes fill an important ecological role, feeding on rodents and insects and serving as a food source for other animals such as raccoons, bobcats, hawks, owls and many others.
There is no record of anyone dying from being bitten by a venomous snake in the wild in New Jersey. In the past forty years in New Jersey, the majority of venomous snake bites have been the result of improper “and illegal” handling of the snakes.
Snakes see us as the predator. Under the state’s Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act it is illegal to kill, harm, harass or collect wildlife and their parts. “e.g., snake skins, rattles”.
*Be aware of potential snake environments.
*Keep lawn cut short and property free of mulch piles.
*Do not reach into shrubs, wood piles or rock walls without first checking thoroughly with a broom. Wear gloves.
*Remove any source that may attract rodents, they are a food source for snakes.
*Always keep your dog leashed when in parks or wooded areas. This is not only safer for your dogs, it is safer for all NJ native wildlife and it’s the law.
*Bring a flashlight if walking at night and use it in a sweeping motion to check that the path ahead of you is clear.
*Stay on the trails when hiking and wear leather shoes.
*Non venomous snakes can be found near homes and more rarely, in basements during the summer months, although Timber Rattlesnakes and Northern Copperheads are less frequent visitors given their more secretive nature. However, it is wise to keep cracks and crevices of the house and outbuildings sealed to prevent any snake entry.
*In Ringwood and West Milford call your local Police department if you encounter a snake situation; other areas should contact NJ DEP at 1 877 WARN DEP.
All relocations must be handled by professionals.
All venomous snake relocations must be handled by a NJ DEP- approved Venomous Snake Responder.