Thank God we don't live in Australia. Luckily out of all the dangers we face when heading out into the beautiful nature of the Hudson Valley, only two of them are venomous snakes. Some more good news: they're both easy to identify.

The common red milksnake photographed in northwestern Missouri.
A harmless milk snake (Shoemcfly)

Snake Species in the Hudson Valley, NY

There are nearly 20 species of snakes in New York State, and most of them are completely harmless. Very common Hudson Valley snakes like the garter snake or milk snake (above) might be creepy for some people to encounter, but they won't pose any real threat to your health or safety. While there are three venomous snakes in the state, only two can be found in the Hudson Valley.

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Here's what to watch out for:

Copperhead Snake in the Hudson Valley, NY

The first potential danger noodle is almost exclusive to the Hudson Valley. The good news is while it is venomous, a copperhead bite does not have enough poison to be fatal to an adult. That being said, caution should of course always be taken, and they can pose a higher threat to children and pets.

David Kenny/Canva
David Kenny/Canva

Identifying a Copperhead Snake in NY

The first giveaway is in the name: the snake's head is copper in color. They are relatively modest in size, with the largest specimens reaching three feet in length. Like most other venomous snakes, their head is also diamond/triangular in shape, an easy telltale sign that a snake may pose real danger.

Copperheads also have "pits" on their face and vertical, or "slit", pupils in their eyes, although you shouldn't get close enough to check. Their brown stripes are thick on their sides and thin on their back, giving an hourglass-like effect. If you see one, leave it be. If it's obstructing your path, turn around.

Timber Rattlesnake, Crotalus Horridus Horridus

Timber Rattlesnake in the Hudson Valley, NY

The bigger and more dangerous venomous snake in our area is the timber rattlesnake. You are less likely to come across one, however, as they are listed as a threatened species by the state of New York. Still, many hikers have encountered them in the Hudson Valley.


Identifying a Timber Rattlesnake in NY

Like the copperhead, the rattlesnake also has a very obvious giveaway: a rattle at the end of its body. If threatened, many snakes, rattle or not, will vibrate their "tails" (do snakes have tails??), but lucky for us, we can hear the timber rattlesnake because their bite can be devastating. The timber rattlesnake also has a diamond-shaped head, face pits, and vertical pupils. They can grow up to nearly five feet long in New York and have two types of color patterns: dark phase and light phase (above). Like the copperhead, leave a rattlesnake alone if you see one, and turn around if you can't safely walk past.

Now that you're educated, check out some beautiful hikes to safely enjoy in the Hudson Valley below.

The 29 Most Interesting Hikes In and Around the Hudson Valley

We've made a list of the most interesting hikes in and around the Hudson Valley. This list features hikes with various features: mountains, cliffs, waterfalls, unique areas, and fire towers.

11 People Including Rangers, Climbers and a Helicopter Needed to Rescue Hiker

injured climber rescued by New York Forest Rangers, Assistants and Volunteer Climbers


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