Timber Rattlesnakes

Tiber Rattler

There are only three species of venomous snakes living in the wilds of New York (many other kinds may be found in the homes of private individuals and, occasionally, escapes occur!). These are the timber rattlesnake, the massasauga (erroneously called "pygmy rattler"), and the copperhead. All three are uncommon. The timber rattlesnake (listed as "Threatened" by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) enjoys the widest range; it is found mainly in the southeastern part of the state, except Long Island and New York City, with scattered populations as far north as Lake George and also along the Southern Tier in western New York. Its populations have been severely reduced, primarily due to bounties and commercial capture for snakeskin products and the pet trade. The massasauga (listed as "Endangered") occurs in only two locations, both large wetlands. One is located northeast of Syracuse, and the other is west of Rochester. This species is the subject of a cooperative research program between researchers at SUNY-ESF and NYSDEC. The copperhead is mainly found along the lower Hudson Valley south of Kingston and scattered through the Catskills.