What You Need To Know About the Venomous Snakes of New York
New York is home to a variety of wildlife, including venomous snakes. Most people don't think of New York when they think of venomous snakes but the truth is that there are venomous snakes right here in our state.
While venomous snakes aren't as common in New York as they are in other parts of the country, there are still several species of venomous snakes that call New York home.
The two most common are the timber rattlesnake and the copperhead. While less common is the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, Timber rattlesnakes are typically found in the eastern part of New York while copperheads are more commonly found in the western part of the state. Both snakes are known for their distinctive coloring and patterns, which is helpful in identifying them.
The timber rattlesnake is a large snake that can grow up to six feet in length. They're typically gray or brown with dark brown or black bands across their entire body. The most distinguishing feature of the timber rattlesnake is the rattle on the end of its tail.
The copperhead is a smaller snake that is usually about three feet long. Copperhead snakes are generally light brown or tan, with distinctive hourglass-shaped bands of darker brown or reddish-brown. The copperhead makes a rattling sound which it uses to warn potential predators.
The eastern Massasauga rattlesnake is quite rare to see as in New York, it is only known to be found in a swamp near Rochester and in the Oneida Lake swampland located east of Syracuse. This snake is usually one to three feet in length and has a broad head. The snake is a brownish-grey color and has a row of hourglass dark spots all along its back and then three rows of smaller spots on its back.
The best way to identify a venomous snake is to look for certain physical characteristics. Venomous snakes typically have triangular-shaped heads while non-venomous snakes have more rounded heads. Also, venomous snakes typically have pupils that look slit-like while non-venomous snakes have round pupils.
If you encounter a venomous, the most important thing to do is to remain calm. Whatever you do, don't attempt to pick up or handle the snake. Instead, slowly back away from the snake and give it plenty of space.
If you are bitten by a venomous snake, get medical attention immediately, and remember that if you attempt to suck out the venom or use a tourniquet, doing so can actually increase the spread of venom in your body.