Revisiting the Rattlesnake

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,958
7,333
All,

Today Jessica and I hit the pines doing some research I will discuss sometime in the future; however, before that we visited the location of the Rattlesnakes that Bob discovered a few years back. Today we only saw one, but it looked healthy and relaxed. A good sign! There is a link to a video that Jessica captured of it at the end of this post that you might want to check out. Sorry for the 10MB size but it shows it off so much better than a smaller window.

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We looked for some stones and came up empty, so we stopped on the JCRR switch and found it missing. Today on the left and a few years back with my youngest daughter on the right.


http://teegate.njpinebarrens.com/05102008/JCRRSwitch.jpg


Here is the snake video. You will need Quicktime and give it some time to load. Broadband required.

http://home.comcast.net/~teegate/snake.mov

Guy
 

andy1015

Explorer
May 4, 2007
234
1
40
wow, nice pics guy. you know i really wouldn't have thought that there were rattlers in the pines. What kind of rattlesnakes? Timber, never mind.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
24,958
7,333
wow, nice pics guy. you know i really wouldn't have thought that there were rattlers in the pines. What kind of rattlesnakes?

You will have to wait for someone who knows the answer to that. I am not an expert on snakes.

I can say that while standing there the last time we visited it, one person with us commented that it changes the way he thinks about walking through the woods. You have to keep your head down especially when stepping over old logs. We were there for 15 minutes the last time before we realized there was a third one right near us.


Guy
 

andy1015

Explorer
May 4, 2007
234
1
40
yea it makes me think too. also for my dogs because they will take off and i won't see them for 10 minutes, if they got bit its very possible i wouldn't have a clue until it was to late.

15 minutes and you didn't notice, thats scary. you were lucky. But you keep your eyes on the ones you see and its the one that you don't that gets ya
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
8,393
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millville nj
www.youtube.com
Yes the only kind of rattler in nj is the timber rattler (Crotalus horridus)and also the only venemous snake in south jersey.We also have the northern copperhead in north jersey (Akistrodon contotrix).
This is a awesome find that Guy has here.An obvious den is nearby.I've only encountered (catch and release) rattler in the barrens in all my years of herping and it was 14 years ago at age 30 in wharton state forest.I've caught other rattlers in other states but this one was by far the meanest critter i ever had the pleasure of capturing.I actually ran over him but thankfully missed him with my tires so he was quite pissed by the time i got back to him.he actually appeared to leap off the road trying to add me to his time to die list.He was about 2 ft long or her.I was too excited to worry about sexing it then.
I would love to see the state repopulate areas with rattlers where they seem to be recently extirpated like down my way in cumberland couty.I think it makes the woods a much more interesting place when you have to watch where you put your feet occasionally:)
Al
 

MarkBNJ

Piney
Jun 17, 2007
1,875
71
Long Valley, NJ
www.markbetz.net
Some railfan probably removed that switch engine. The link and points wouldn't be of as much interest (or as easy to make off with!)

Incredible pics of the snakes, Guy. Would I be wrong in assuming a rattler will sound off before striking? Is there a chance that if you step so close it will just hit you w/o any warning?
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
8,393
2,205
59
millville nj
www.youtube.com
Yes some snakes do strike without rattling.They can also give a dry bite without venom.this is at their control.They almost never inject as much venom in a defnsive bite as a bite to secure prey.They can control the amount also.And yes a babies venom is as potent as an adults the quanity is just smaller.
It is sometimes to the snakes advantage to lay quietly to avoid detection instead of rattling.Some large grazers will stomp a rattler to death if they find out where it's at and people kill them reguarly too so some will not rattle and do get occasionally stepped on which is almost certainly going to ellicit a bite.Their cryptic coloration makes this a possibility even if you are watching where you step.
Al
 

MarkBNJ

Piney
Jun 17, 2007
1,875
71
Long Valley, NJ
www.markbetz.net
Good reasons to be a lot more aware in the woods! Guy's picture really brings home the fact that they are out there.

I spend a lot of time in the highlands as well. Are there any to be careful of up here?
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,316
300
Near Mt. Misery
I've come across a total of three. I wouldn't be too concerned about stepping on one as long as you take resonable caution. The only one that gave me the rattle was a real big one I came across in a burnt over wet area. I backed up and he took off very quickly. I think in most instances they are going to be well aware of you before you are aware of them.

Beautiful animals.

Jeff
 

dragoncjo

Piney
Aug 12, 2005
1,454
175
41
camden county
Guys, no one should worry about timbers. They are pretty rare in this state and if you see one consider yourself lucky and move on. Guy did not stumble upon these they are at a spot Bob and him visit every year. With that said they can be tough to see because of their camo. However, they only strike if completely provoked. I've nearly stepped on a few by accident in pa and they simply slither away or rattle. The bite won't kill you either just leave a nasty wound and possibly a missing finger. Unless your bushwacking deep in the pines don't worry about them...their nearly harmless.
 

tugwake

Scout
Sep 15, 2008
62
0
Yikes!

That pic was both lovely and scary, if that's possible.

What about water moccasins near LEHT area?

I recently visited Allaire State Park in Monmouth County and saw a LOT of snakes in the streams. After researching the little critters, I found out they were Northern Water Snakes and often mistaken for moccasins. They were brown with little red patches, about 18" long, very curious and not at all afraid of me or my dog. One had just eaten a turtle and was basking in the sun with a little fat tummy. I was going to pick him up but I didn't want to disturb his meal.

I've heard that the Timber rattlesnakes are endangered in this area. Their mating dance is beautiful, if any one has ever seen it. They stand about halfway on their bodies and form the shape of a heart together. Here's a pic to give you an idea of what it looks like.

180px-Rattlesnake_Dance_01.jpg
 

dragoncjo

Piney
Aug 12, 2005
1,454
175
41
camden county
Thats true Ben you guys do go deep in the pines, but......trust me they are very harmless. You have to mess with them real bad to be struck.

Star, we don't have water moccassins in NJ. The only poisonous snake you will encounter in SJ is the timber rattlesnake. Also were you live there are no timbers....they are extirpated for the most part outside of camden, burlington and ocean counties in the south. They may be down in cumberland and atlantic counties but I don't believe there are any sightings in the last 10 years.
 

tugwake

Scout
Sep 15, 2008
62
0
Thats true Ben you guys do go deep in the pines, but......trust me they are very harmless. You have to mess with them real bad to be struck.

Star, we don't have water moccassins in NJ. The only poisonous snake you will encounter in SJ is the timber rattlesnake. Also were you live there are no timbers....they are extirpated for the most part outside of camden, burlington and ocean counties in the south. They may be down in cumberland and atlantic counties but I don't believe there are any sightings in the last 10 years.

Well, I won't say "awesome" because I hate to see any wildlife destroyed but I'd rather not live with a venomous snake near my home. Thanks! You made me feel better.
 

ecampbell

Piney
Jan 2, 2003
2,794
902
I chased one out of the road before one of the nutballs working at the Costello Academy ran over it. That place ought to be buldozed. The State Police had a bunch of them pulled over for speeding last year. The snake was very cooperative and scooted back into the woods, nice animal, friendly. You geocachers, watch where you stick your hands!

Guy, 10MP! What are you shooting with these days?

Ed
 

Y-BUC-BILL

Explorer
Mar 9, 2007
129
25
Rattlesnakes

Years ago there was a story of an old Piney that lived in Upton Station.Used to catch may rattlers[100+]ayear.Would ship them alive at the Whiting post office.That went on for quite a few years,till one day a few got out of the package in the post office.That was the end of that venture.
 
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