Anyone who spends as much time outdoors as sportsmen do will eventually encounter snakes. If you can identify the animal and be certain it is not venomous, there is no need to fear it.
There are only 14 species of snakes native to the Commonwealth, and it is not difficult to learn to identify them. Many are quite small as adults, and even the larger species are typically only 3 – 5 feet in length. Some are common and well distributed, while others are endangered and found only in very limited areas (including our two venomous species). Some lay eggs; others give birth to live young. Young snakes are entirely independent at birth; snakes do not protect/defend their young or their mates.
Depending on the species, our snakes may feed on insects, worms, slugs, fish, frogs, toads, salamanders, rodents, eggs, and young birds. Their chief predators are birds – including songbirds that equate small snakes with worms. Snakes try to avoid confrontation with people and pets, and if left alone, are entirely harmless. They should be enjoyed as attractive, interesting animals that fill important ecological roles as both predators and prey.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.