RAMAPO, N.Y. -- A Ramapo resident had a startling encounter on the Fourth of July with a Crotalus horridus, say local police.
No, it wasn’t a new kind of pyrotechnic device, it was a good old-fashioned timber rattlesnake.
Police were called in after the unwanted guest was spotted casually slithering around the Haverstraw Road homeowner’s front walkway.
(Horridus, by the way, is Latin for disgusting, horrid, frightful ... or wild)
Common to New York, the pit viper uses its venom to immobilize its prey.
However, its bite can be fatal to humans and pets if left untreated.
Police did not say in their Facebook post if they dispatched the scaly creature, or allowed it to return to its den unmolested.
Timber rattlers have a broad triangular head and black or dark brown crossbands on a light background color of yellow, brown or gray.
It’s because of this coloration that rattlers are very easily concealed, especially on dry leaves.
They can grow up to 4½ feet long.
Rattlers are so named because of the structure on the end of their tails, made of loosely attached segments, that emits a terrifying buzzing sound when the snake is disturbed.
They are classified as a threatened species in New York and an endangered species everywhere in New England -- except Maine and Rhode Island where they’re said to be extinct.
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