Encountering venomous snakes: a guide

Posted on: July 19, 2016 | Bob Frye | Comments

Copperhead 2A copperhead snake spotted at Crooked Creek Park.

OK, so we know – or at least a majority of scientists, if not all – tell us timber rattlesnakes are doing pretty well in Pennsylvania these days.

Don’t forget the copperhead, though.

There are some of those venomous snakes around, too. One was spotted at Crooked Creek Lake in Armstrong County recently.

There are also venomous massasauga rattlesnakes in a handful of places in the state, notably at Jennings Environmental Education Center in Butler County.

Such snakes are to be respected, for sure. That doesn’t mean feared necessarily, and certainly doesn’t translate to persecuted, but it does mean respected.

No snake goes looking to bite people. But they will act in what they think of as defensive terms.

If you’re moving logs, rocks, or even mulch, and you think there may be snakes around, consider using a long-handled tool to sort of test the waters. If you’re out hiking, a walking stick is a good tool to carry, to poke around tall grass and rocks for the same reason.

Better to find a snake before stepping on it, right?

Of course, people do occasionally get bitten by snakes bites, and in rare cases, even perish as a result.

Sniffoutdoors.com (worth a look) put together a pretty simple but good infographic detailing what to do if you get bitten. It offers some suggestions on further reading, too.

Take a look and be prepared. Snakes, even venomous ones, are a part of the natural world, so be aware, be prepared, but get outdoors and have fun, too.


Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or bfrye@535mediallc.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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