Are There Poisonous Snakes in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania is home to a few venomous and many non-venomous snakes, so it’s important to know how to tell them apart. Knowing the differences between venomous and non-venomous snakes is the key to staying safe around them.
Venomous Snakes in Pennsylvania
There are four venomous snakes in Pennsylvania:
- Eastern Copperhead
- Timber Rattlesnake
- Northern Water Moccasin
- Southern Black Racer
The Eastern Copperhead is the most commonly encountered of the venomous snakes and can be identified by its unique reddish hourglass-shaped crossbands. While rare, the Timber Rattlesnake is the only rattlesnake found in Pennsylvania and can be identified by its classic rattle and triangular head. The Northern Water Moccasin and Southern Black Racer are both quite rare in Pennsylvania, however, they can be identified by their large round eyes and jet-black scales.
Pennsylvania is home to many non-venomous snakes, including:
- Black Rat Snake
- Garter Snake
- Eastern Worm Snake
- Ringneck Snake
The Black Rat Snake is perhaps the most well-known of the non-venomous snakes in Pennsylvania and can be identified by its long body and distinctive black and white pattern. Garter Snakes are also quite common in Pennsylvania, are easily identified by their striped pattern, and are often mistaken for Rattlesnakes due to the stripes on their tails. The Eastern Worm Snake and the Ringneck Snake both have long, slender bodies and can be identified by their light-colored undersides and dark markings.
It is important to keep in mind that venomous and non-venomous snakes can often look similar, especially from a distance, which is why it is important to be aware of the differences between them. It is also important to remember that all snakes can be potentially dangerous and should be given a wide berth.