About 20 species of snakes inhabit the Pinelands, and several of these populations are quite remarkable. The timber rattlesnake is the only venomous species in the Pinelands and exists here as a disjunct population. Having been extirpated from the immediate environs of the Pinelands, they have managed to survive in about seven reproducing populations scattered through the region. The closest neighboring populations are in far north Jersey. The northern pine snake populations of the Pinelands are also cut off from their own kind. Northern Pine Snakes are not found again until you get all the way down to Virginia and West Virginia. Similarly, the Pinelands hosts the northernmost population of the corn snake. The most common snake of the Pinelands may be the northern water snake. Surely the most bizarre snake of the area is the eastern hognose, also known as the puff adder, since it often spreads its neck, cobra-like, when alarmed.
Read our blog post Summer and Reptiles in the Pines.
Black Rat Snake
Size: 42″ – 72″
Description: Constrictor. Feeds on frogs, lizards, small snakes, birds and eggs. Good climber of trees. Locally common in the Pine Barrens.
Size: 30″ – 48″
Description: Constrictor. Feeds largely on mice and rats, also birds and small rabbits. A good climber, but mostly terrestrial. Spends much time in rodent burrows. Only found in Burlington, Cumberland and Ocean Counties. State Endangered.
Eastern Hognose Snake
Size: 18″ – 30″
Description: Has a habit of playing dead when attacked or disturbed. May flatten its head and neck, hiss, and inflate body with air. If not successful, may flip onto back open, its mouth and play dead. Feeds mainly on frogs and toads. Found in woods, sandly plains, open fields, and edges of swamps. Common in the Pine Barrens.
Eastern King Snake
Size: 36″ – 48″
Description: A strong constrictor. Feeds largely on other snakes but also on lizards, birds and rodents. Prefers stream banks and borders of swamps. Common in the Pine Barrens.
Eastern Ribbon Snake
Northern Black Racer
Size: 36″ – 60″
Description: Feeds on insects, frogs, rodents, small birds and eggs. A good climber but mostly terrestrial. Prefers open dry country and open fields. Locally common in the Pine Barrens.
Northern Pine Snake
Size: 48″ – 66″
Description: Constrictor. Feeds on rodents and birds and their eggs. One of the few snakes that excavates its own nesting burrow in open, sandly fields. Found in flat, dry, sandy pine country. Locally common in the Pine Barrens, but threated throughout the state of New Jersey.
Status: State Threatened
Northern Water Snake
Size: 24″ – 42″
Description: Has a quick temper and readily bites but is not poisonous. Feeds mainly on small fish and frogs. Bears live young. Only large water snake of the Pine Barrens. Often seen sunning itself along edges of ponds or streams. Common in the Pine Barrens.
Rough Green Snake
Size: 22″ – 32″
Description: Feeds almost exclusively on spiders and insects like grasshoppers and caterpillars. Good climber and commonly moves about in bushes and low trees. Common in Pine Barrens.
Size: 36″ – 54″
Description: The only venomous snake found in the Pine Barrens. Feeds exclusively on warmblooded prey including shrews, moles, other rodents, rabbits and birds. Prefers second-growth timberlands where rodents are common. Becoming scarce in the Pine Barrens.
Status: State Endangered
Common Snapping Turtle
Size: 8″ – 18″
Description: Has a fighting disposition. Omnivorous: will feed on fish, frogs, young waterfowl and small animals, but also aquatic vegetation. Can reach ages 60-75 years. Habitat is any permanent body of water. Common in the Pine Barrens.
Eastern Box Turtle
Size: 4 1/2″ – 6″
Description: Basically a terrestrial turtle. Omnivorous: feeds on worms and insects, and foliage and fruit. Common in the Pine Barrens.
Eastern Mud Turtle
Size: 3″ – 4″
Description: A bottom feeder. Inhabits ponds, bogs and small lakes. Numerous in the Pine Barrens.
Eastern Painted Turtle
Size: 4 1/2 ” – 6″
Description: Feeds on both plant and animal matter, including worms, larvae, snails, salamanders, and small fish. Often seen sunning itself on logs. Found in lakes, streams, shallow ponds, and marshes. Common in the Pine Barrens.
Size: 3″ – 4 1/2″
Description: Also called a “stinkpot” for musky secretion emitted from glandular openings. A bottom feeder on smallliving organisms, and scavenger on dead animal matter. Common in ponds, quiet streams, and bogs throughout the Pine Barrens.
Size: 10″ – 13″
Description: Feeds mostly on aquatic vegetation, plus some animals (worms, insect larvae, and small fish). Found in ponds, rivers, and larger bodies of water. Common in the Pine Barrens.
Northern Fence Lizard
Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus
Size: 4″ – 7″
Description: Feeds largely on flies and other small insects. Seen running on sand or in stumps, logs, or fences. Common in the Pine Barrens.