Snakes of Fort Dix
On the Joint Base / Fort Dix Impact area the ONLY venomous snake is the Timber Rattle Snake.
Timber Rattler (Venomous)
Timber rattlesnake colors and patterns are highly variable. In New Jersey, two color morphs occur – yellow or black. An average of 24 dark brown or black body blotches, crossbands or both are found from the neck to the base of the tail. Often the crossbands are not complete near the head but by mid-body they join to form crossbands having the shape of a chevron. A dark color (black or brown) is found on the last few inches of the tail. Black morphs have a black head and may have much black color throughout whereas yellow morphs have a yellow or light tan head color.
In southern NJ, timber rattlesnakes usually den along streams in white cedar swamps. They use crevices among the tree roots to access underground cavities just above the groundwater line. At least one southern NJ den occurred in an upland location associated with a tree stump.
In New Jersey, rattlesnakes usually enter the den from mid-September to early November and emerge from hibernation between early April and mid-May.
Northern Pine Snake (Non Venomous)
The northern pine snake is a relatively large 5-7 feet black and dull white to yellowish or light gray snake. These snakes have blotches that are dark towards the front of the body but may fade to brown near and on the tail.
Known for their noisy hiss, pine snakes are typically ground dwellers and rarely climb vegetation. Since this species is both secretive and fossorial (it burrows underground), it can easily go undetected even in locations where it is known to be common
Let’s start out by saying that the pine snake is a non-venomous constrictor. It kills its prey by coiling itself around it in order to suffocate the animal. Pine snakes are known to eat mammals as large as rabbits, as well as small rodents and birds. They are usually most active in early morning or late afternoon when they leave their burrows to hunt.
If unexpectedly encountered on the trail or in the woods, this large, white-and-black patterned snake would most likely vibrate its tail, hiss loudly, and then try to escape. Though its bold appearance and actions may fool or scare some people, this particular species of snake is not venomous. In fact, it is harmless to people and is a beneficial predator in nature.
Hog Nose Snake (Non Venomous)
The average adult measures 28 inches in total length (body + tail), with females being larger than males. The maximum recorded total length is 45.5 inches.
The most distinguishing feature is the upturned snout, used for digging in sandy soils.
The color pattern is extremely variable. Its can be red, green, orange, brown, gray to black, or any combination thereof depending on locality.
Though these snakes are rear-fanged, they are often considered non-venomous, and not harmful to humans. Humans that are allergic to the saliva have been known to produce local swelling, but no human deaths have been documented.
When threatened, the neck is flattened and the head is raised off the ground, not unlike a cobra. They also hiss and will strike, but they do not attempt to bite. The result can be likened to a high speed head-butt. If this threat display does not work to deter a would-be predator, a hognose snake will often roll onto its back and play dead, going so far as to emit a foul musk from its cloaca and let its tongue hang out of its mouth.
Black Racer (Non Venmous)
Racer snakes are very long, large and supple snakes. The adult snakes are generally black, brown, blue or green in cooler and the young ones are grey and are flecked with spots on their middles. They have smooth scale, which are divided into 17 rows. They mostly dwell in fields, brushy areas, grasslands, prairie land, mountains and pine flat woods.
Racer snakes have a distinguished head and large eyes with round pupils. They usually prey on small mammals, lizards, frogs and insects. They hibernate during the months of winter.
When they are provoked, they will make a buzzing sound and will vibrate their tail in dead vegetation. If any attempt is made to grab them, they will bite incessantly, and thrust themselves out in a violent manner.
Black Racer Snakes can be found along the wet areas along Cooks Corner Road and the area around Klinger’s Bogs.
Rat Snake (Non Venomous)
Adult rat snakes are typically 3-5 Ft long but large individuals may be more than 6 ft long. Black rat snakes are more northern in distribution and are characteristically black on top with a faint hint of white between some of the scales.
The juveniles of all subspecies resemble the gray rat. The belly is whitish in color near the head and becomes checkered or mottled toward the tail.
Adult rat snakes primarily eat mice, rats, squirrels, and birds, as well as bird eggs. They are a common predator on wood duck eggs. Juveniles eat small frogs, lizards, and small rodents.
Rat snakes are constrictors, and adept climbers that can scale brick walls as well as tree trunks. When frightened they often assume a “kinked” posture and remain motionless. They will vibrate the tail and expel malodorous musk.
Garter Snake (Non Venomous)
Garter snakes are among the most common snakes in North America. Garter snakes are usually 23-30 inches long but have been known to grow up to 53 inches long.
Garter snakes colors vary from green to grey to almost black, but regardless of the color, they all have a noticeable side and back stripe.
Garter snakes are harmless, although many people are afraid of them anyway. In reality, the garter snake is more likely to be afraid of you! If you are walking along and come across a Garter snake, the snake’s first instinct is going to be to hide. There only form of defense against us is a foul-smelling musky liquid that they release if picked up.