Poisonous Snakes in Western Pennsylvania

WRITTEN BY: Poison Center
Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Scaly, slithery, and sometimes deadly, snakes are found in underbrush and other wooden areas in Western PA. While you should be cautious of all snakes, there are four venomous snakes in particular that you should be on the lookout for when you’re enjoying the outdoors.


Copperhead snakes are the cause of thousands of bites a year, but are rarely fatal. Even newborn copperheads have fully functioning fangs that are as venomous as adult fangs.

Copperhead Snake | UPMC HealthBeat

Timber Rattlesnakes

Adult timber rattlesnakes shed their skin every one to two years, and a new rattle segment is added each time the shedding occurs. Their venom can be fatal to humans if the bite is left untreated.

Timber Rattlesnake | UPMC HealthBeat


Cottonmouth snakes are usually more active at night and spend much of their time in the water. Also, they are usually not aggressive and will only attack if agitated.

Cottonmouth Snake | UPMC HealthBeat

Massassagua Rattlesnake

Small and venomous, massasauga rattlesnakes have declined so much in population that they are on the path to becoming extinct if work is not done to conserve them.

Massassagua Rattlesnake | UPMC HealthBeat
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Poison Center

The Pittsburgh Poison Center responds to over 150,000 requests for poison information each year. It is staffed 24/7 by nurse specialists with extensive training in clinical toxicology. The Pittsburgh Poison Center created Mr. Yuk in 1971 to education children and adults about poison prevention and awareness. Read More