Are There Poisonous Snakes in Massachusetts?
When thinking of venomous wildlife, Massachusetts may not be the first place that comes to mind, but Massachusetts is actually home to a few species of venomous snakes. While not overly common, the presence of zinc-tailed snakes in Massachusetts is enough to prompt cautious behavior when out enjoying the Commonwealth’s natural beauty.
Venomous Snakes in Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is home to two species of venomous snakes. Both species are common in New England, but are not as widely distributed in other parts of North America. The venomous species found in Massachusetts are:
- Northern Copperhead — Found and native to Massachusetts, the Northern Copperhead is a species of pit viper, identifiable by its reddish-brown color and hourglass-shaped crossbands.
- Timber Rattlesnake — A large species of pit viper, the Timber Rattlesnake has a dark-colored body and rattles on its tail, recognizable easily. It is considered more rare in Massachusetts, but there are still populations present in the state.
Are Snakes Common in Massachusetts?
The snakes present in Massachusetts are not overly common, and you are extremely unlikely to stumble upon one when out and about in the Commonwealth. Both Northern Copperheads and Timber Rattlesnakes prefer to inhabit wooded areas, far away from humans. Due to the large number of wooded areas in Massachusetts, there are plenty of places where you can find both species.
How to Avoid Snakes in Massachusetts
If you want to avoid coming into contact with the venomous snakes that can be found in Massachusetts, the best way to do so is by familiarizing yourself with the habitats they prefer. As stated earlier, both species of venomous snakes prefer to inhabit wooded areas, so it is best to keep away from places where there are dense forests and thick underbrush. Care should also be taken when walking in areas with gravel on the ground, as both species of snakes are masters at camouflage and may be present without your knowledge.
Finally, it is also important to be sure of your footing when walking anywhere in Massachusetts, as snakes are generally not aggressive if left alone and may be provoked if stepped on.
While venomous snakes are not overly common in Massachusetts, it is important to keep in mind that there are still populations present in the state. By familiarizing yourself with the habitats these venomous species prefer, being cautious when walking in gravel-covered areas, and taking care to not step on a snake, you greatly reduce the chances of coming into contact with the venomous species that can be found in the Commonwealth.