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About Venomous Snakes in MA

There are only two venomous snakes in Massachusetts: the timber rattlesnake and the copperhead. Contrary to popular belief, there are no venomous “water moccasins” in the Bay State, only harmless water snakes.

Statewide, populations of our two endangered venomous snakes are believed to number no more than a few hundred in all. Due to a host of problems, these populations are likely still declining despite rigorous efforts to protect them.

“Rattlers” are now known to exist at only a dozen or so widely scattered sites in mountainous regions of the state and the distribution of copperheads is even more restricted. As a result, most of Massachusetts is completely devoid of venomous serpents.

Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Timber Rattlesnake © Dr. Charles F. Smith

Venomous, the timber rattlesnake is extremely rare and localized. It has a heavy body, a triangular head, a slitted, cat-like pupil, and a rattle that it uses to warn potential predators. It prefers rocky, forested areas.

Status: Endangered in Massachusetts, and, under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to kill, harass, or possess this snake.

SOURCE: Mass Audubon

Northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

Copperhead Snake © Joy Marzolf, Mass Audubon

Venomous, the northern copperhead is extremely rare to encounter. It has a thick, heavy body, with keeled scales, a triangular head, and a thin, cat-like pupil. Its brown and orange body is well-camouflaged against the forest floor.

Status: Endangered in the Massachusetts, and, under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to kill, harass, or possess this snake.

SOURCE: Mass Audubon

If you found a venomous snake, call the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075 (dispatchers are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week)

Guide for Identifying Venomous Snakes of MA

Source

Please Note!

Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a proper state or federal permit.

Who to Call!

If you found a venomous snake, call the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075 (dispatchers are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week)

Non-venomous Snakes

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