Upstate New York Hikers Beware Of Rare Deadly Snake
Hiking can be, and should be, an adventure. However, most don't want it to be a dangerous activity. Deadly snakes can add some anxiety for the every day hiker. In the New York, certain venomous snake sightings are on the rare side, maybe until this year.
According to an article by Lauren Harkawik of timesunion.com, a woman hiking in Minnewaska State Park, south of Kingston, NY came across a Timber Rattlesnake, one of 3 snakes considered to be deadly that lurk in the state of New York. The Massasauga and the Copperhead are the other two venomous predators skulking in the Empire State.
Why are sightings of the timber snake so rare in the first place? Harawik spoke to James P. Gibbs, professor of vertebrate conservation biology for The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry to find out. Gibbs said that timber rattlesnake populations are making a “steady if slow recovery” following a “near collapse” in the mid-20th century due to a myriad of factors. One of those factors was a "bounty system" in New York for rattlesnakes that was ended in the 1970's. “Recovery continues but is getting more difficult in many areas,” Gibbs told Lauren Harawik.
After Danielle DeBellis saw the timber rattler on High Point Trail at Sam’s Point Preserve in Minnewaska State Park, she went on Facebook to see if others had such encounters and she was surprised to find that others had posted about similar encounters. She told timesunion.com, “I’ve been hiking for a long time, and this was the first I encountered.”
So, has there been an increase in the timber rattlesnake population? “The most probable explanation to the rise in rattlesnake sightings in the Hudson Valley is simply that there are more people out and about in recent years,” the Department of Environmental Conservation told timesunion.com. “The more people visiting areas occupied by rattlesnakes, the more likely someone is to see one, take a photo, and post it on social media.” Either way, keep your eyes open and be careful where you step! If you get bitten or are with someone that does, call 911. Snake bites are rare in New York but are not to be discounted. Eyes open hikers!