Gundog

Rattlesnake roundup

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Every year in the middle of June the little town of Noxen in Pennsylvania holds a rattlesnake roundup. This year was the second year I went. They catch the rattlesnakes from the surrounding 3 counties and bring them to the park to weigh, measure and count their rattles. They do this in an pen and when they are done getting the info they release the snakes in the pen they are standing in. I took some pics of the snakes and the people who catch them. The first pic is a copperhead. And yes the guy is holding it on one of his snake hooks used to catch the snake. 

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This pic is a rattlesnake that is darker than typical rattlesnakes. The commentator told us snakes like this are born this color and its not any kind of "phase" that makes them change colors. 

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If you want to see how close the snakes are to the snake catchers, the boots you see in this pic belong to the commentator. That snake never rattled. It just slithered by his boots. 

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This pic is of a lighter colored rattlesnake. Still looks dangerous to me. 

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So apparently there are only 3 types of deadly snakes in Pennsylvania. And I believe they are the same three that are in Ohio. 

 

I made a comment to you on another thread about a water moccasin.. after (just a little) digging I've seen that water moccasins are not listed as one of these three. Even though "claims and sightings are reported EVERY year" 

 

2 of them are rattlesnakes. Which these guys seem to be having fun handling. 

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17 minutes ago, Yeajray231 said:

So apparently there are only 3 types of deadly snakes in Pennsylvania. And I believe they are the same three that are in Ohio. 

 

I made a comment to you on another thread about a water moccasin.. after (just a little) digging I've seen that water moccasins are not listed as one of these three. Even though "claims and sightings are reported EVERY year" 

 

2 of them are rattlesnakes. Which these guys seem to be having fun handling. 

The reason water moccasins are not listed is because they aren't in PA or OH. Claims and sightings are mostly of water snakes. When people see snakes many times they are too busy running away to actually get a good description of the snake. They just assume its venomous. If you look it up, the range of water moccasins are as high as southern virginia. None in PA or OH. Probably cause of temp ranges in winters.

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6 minutes ago, Gundog said:

The reason water moccasins are not listed is because they aren't in PA or OH. Claims and sightings are mostly of water snakes. When people see snakes many times they are too busy running away to actually get a good description of the snake. They just assume its venomous. If you look it up, the range of water moccasins are as high as southern virginia. None in PA or OH. Probably cause of temp ranges in winters.

 

 

When I lived in New Jersey we had two venomous snakes, but NO water moccasins (i.e. Cottonmouths).

The most common poisonous snake was the copperhead, followed distantly by the timber rattlesnake.

Timber rattlers were found mostly in the northwest corner, especially near the Delaware Water Gap.

 

Roger

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2 minutes ago, RoLo said:

 

 

When I lived in New Jersey we had two venomous snakes, but NO water moccasins (i.e. Cottonmouths).

The most common poisonous snake was the copperhead, followed distantly by the timber rattlesnake.

Timber rattlers were found mostly in the northwest corner, especially near the Delaware Water Gap.

 

Roger

We have the same two snakes in PA plus a very rare Eastern Massasauga that is also venomous. 

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11 minutes ago, Gundog said:

We have the same two snakes in PA plus a very rare Eastern Massasauga that is also venomous. 

 

 

In Jersey, I've heard many rumors about sightings of water moccasins and diamondback rattlesnakes.

I took them all as seriously as I took sightings of skunk apes and UFOs    :D

 

I wasn't aware of the 'Massasauga', I see it's a species of rattlesnake (humph).

 

Roger

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That's nuts. 

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Every so often one of the snake hunters would walk around with one of the snakes to let people touch it and ask questions. The snakes head would be in a plastic tube for safety (allegedly the snakes and ours). The commentator also said that they never walk around with the same snake because the combination of heat and people handling the snake increases the risk of the snakes death. 

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Someone didn't get the memo about the plastic tube and safety. 

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People in MD talk about water moccasin sightings as well.  All water snakes.   I fished last fall in southern VA/northern NC.   We saw cottonmouths.  Believe me,  when you see a real cottonmouth,  you will never again mistake it for a water snake. 

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Cottonmouths were a common site in South Carolina when I lived there but until last year I had never seen one in East Tennessee. Last year I saw two, each within a few miles of my home. I later discovered they are slowly migrating north but did not know they had reached Maryland or Virginia. A friend of my wife's was actually bitten by a cottonmouth while climbing off her fathers tractor. She had the intelligence to take a picture and the University of Tennessee identified the snake from the photo. She made a complete recovery.

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12 hours ago, Gundog said:

We have the same two snakes in PA plus a very rare Eastern Massasauga that is also venomous. 

The Eastern Massasauga is in Michigan as well and like PA very rare. National Geographic apparently was in Michigan about an hour south west of me looking for this elusive snake. I've always heard of them (we call them Michigan rattelers) but have never seen one. A dog was killed by one about 10 years ago in the next town over from me. I guess they're not as deadly to healthy adults but will surely ruin your day. 

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My older brother (by 13 years) was a die-hard amateur

herpetologist, and back in the 70s and 80s and had a great

collection of venomous snakes, many from the surrounding

area south of Rochester, NY and PA mountains. He had

Canebrakes (was bitten by one), Timber rattlers, Massasauga,

Cottonmouths, copperheads, among a collection of 40+

venomous and non-venomous.

 

It all started here in VA, where he'd go snake hunting for all

the species we have in SE VA, including ventures into the

Dismal Swamp.

 

Saw rattlesnake roundups when I lived in Texas. Crazy stuff.

I never went the venomous route. Stuck to colubrids, ball pythons, etc.

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The Noxen Rattlesnake Roundup is a pretty incredible thing that I've struggled trying to explain to folks who aren't from NEPA.  Its basically a weird carnival that serves beer and encourages all things snakes. It's been put on by the local fire department for as long as I can remember, and the people watching doesn't disappoint.  I have no idea how people haven't died at this thing.  

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8 hours ago, Turkey sandwich said:

The Noxen Rattlesnake Roundup is a pretty incredible thing that I've struggled trying to explain to folks who aren't from NEPA.  Its basically a weird carnival that serves beer and encourages all things snakes. It's been put on by the local fire department for as long as I can remember, and the people watching doesn't disappoint.  I have no idea how people haven't died at this thing.  

But they seem to know what they are doing. :D  It is a fun event. I've heard that decades ago it wasn't so conservation-minded. They use to kill all the rattlesnakes they caught, skin them and prepare the meat for consumption. Now its far more humane. After the shenanigans they take the snakes back to where they were caught and release them. As far as it being a carnival, I didn't see or smell any carnies. Not even a whiff of cabbage. :lol:

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