In New Jersey, Do We Have to Fear Snakes?
Line up a group of people and ask them their greatest fear, and snakes and spiders will no doubt top nearly everyone's list.
So, I set out to explore the fear to determine if the fear is based on realistic danger.
With spring upon us, and the weather warming up, snakes are going to start becoming active. Here in New Jersey, we have 22 species of snakes. Of those, only 2 are venomous.
The 2 venomous snakes native to Jersey are the Timber Rattle Snake and the Eastern Copperhead.
Timber Rattle snakes are considered endangered. It's highly unlikely you'll ever see one. What's left of this species can be found mostly in the Northern part of the state, although there have been a few sightings further south.
The Timber Rattler's venom is highly dangerous. That said, it's very rare for someone to get bitten. These snakes are not aggressive, preferring to hide rather than attack.
The Eastern Copperhead is the other venomous snake that's native to our state. These snakes are also found mostly in the northern part of the state, although they have been sighted as far south as northern Mercer.
These snakes are generally found in rocky areas and blend well with rocks and leaves. If you were to get bitten by this snake, the venom is quite weak. Between 1983 and 2010, no one in New Jersey had died of a snake bite. That's it for snakes that can hurt us.
One of the most common snakes is the garter snake. This is a snake that you would want around. It eats various bugs and crawly creatures.
Despite stories you may have heard, there's only one species of water snake, the Northern Water Snake. It is not venomous.
The coolest looking snake? That would be a milk snake.
If you should happen to run into a snake, its best to walk away, or look from a distance. You probably shouldn't handle a snake. How can you tell if a snake is venomous? Generally speaking, they have a box or diamond-shaped head. Remember this, snakes serve an important role. If you see a snake, you probably won't see any rodents.