Common Snakes of Pennsylvania
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Common Snakes of Pennsylvania

There are many things that people associate with Pennsylvania, but snakes are not usually at the top of the list. However, there are a wide variety of species of snakes that can be found in the state, and some are even classified as venomous. There are 22 different species in all, but most are of the benign variety.



While all 22 cannot be discussed in a small article like this, but here are some of the more common ones that you will find in the state.

Rat Snakes – There are two different kinds of rat snakes in Pennsylvania, the black and the gray. These snakes feed on a wide variety of other animals, including lizards, mice, bugs, rats, and even on copperhead snakes. It is amazing that a non-venomous snake will eat a venomous one, but this is the quirky nature of God’s plan. This is one of the reasons why people like to have this species of snake around is because they do a lot to remove dangerous snakes that could be causing problems for people and their pets. They also reduce the rodent population. Some confuse the rat snake with the copperhead because there are a lot of similarities, so be careful in approaching this snake if you are not fully aware that it is a rat snake.

Garter Snakes – this may be the most common of all species of snakes found in the United States, and Pennsylvania sure has their own number of these animals. They have many different colors and designed, including a large number that have stripes. You will most often find these snakes in the lawn on people’s properties, and they will eat such things as frogs, toads, and other animals that are found around vegetation. When threatened they release a rather foul smell that scares away a large number of predators. They do not have venom, but that smell can be quite pungent.

There Are Some that Are Quite Dangerous

There are not a large number of venomous snakes in Pennsylvania, but it does have its share. Here are a couple.

Eastern Massasauga – not surprisingly, this is an endangered species of snake in the state, and it is primarily because of how dangerous it is. Found in the western side of Pennsylvania, many sought to eradicate this snake until it was near extinction. It is distinguished by dark blotches that are in a row that run down the middle of its back.

Copperhead – there are a large number of copperheads in the state. In fact, this is the most populous venomous snake in Pennsylvania. It has a light brown or tan color with reddish blotches on its back. This reptile can be quite dangerous if it should bite you and you should seek emergency treatment right away. Read more: Snake Control, Venomous Snakes of Florida, How to Identify Snakes, How to Kill Snakes.


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