What to do if you found a venomous snake in Massachusetts
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)
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.
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.