The Manchester Township Police Department has received several confirmed sightings of Timber rattlesnakes in the Roosevelt City section of Whiting over the past few days. Timber rattlesnakes are poisonous reptiles that are considered endangered in the state of NJ. Residents are cautioned not to disturb or approach them.
Robert T. Zappalorti, the executive director/president of Herpetological Associates, Inc., assisted Manchester Police and advised that it is currently mating season, when the male snakes seek out females. While these snakes are present throughout the state, they are prevalent in Fox Hollow, Roosevelt City, and Timber Green.
According to the State Department of Environmental Protection, the following should be done if you encounter a rattlesnake:
- Do NOT approach a rattlesnake! The timber rattlesnake is basically a passive animal, but can become defensive when threatened. Because rattlesnakes view humans as predators, your prolonged presence could encourage a defensive strike.
- NEVER attempt to handle a rattlesnake. This isextremely threatening to the rattlesnake, and encourages defensive strikes. In addition, the timber rattlesnake is protected under the NJ Endangered Species Act. Therefore, it is illegal to kill, handle or harass a timber rattlesnake in New Jersey.
- Move a safe distance away from the snake. Rattlesnakes can strike at a distance up to 1/2 their body length.
- IMMEDIATELY take note of the time and call the Endangered and Nongame Species Program:
Southern region: (609) 628-2103
Northern region: (908) 735-8975 or (908) 735-9281
Weeknights/ weekends: 1-877-WARN DEP.
For additional information, including steps to take if bitten by a rattlesnake (after immediately dialing 911), please see: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/rattler_brochure.pdf