Police in New Jersey warned residents not to approach endangered rattlesnakes turning up in the community.
Manchester Township police shared photos of timber rattlesnakes on Facebook after receiving several confirmed sightings in the Roosevelt City section of the Ocean County town of Whiting.
"Do NOT approach a rattlesnake!" urged police. "The timber rattlesnake is basically a passive animal, but can become defensive when threatened. Because rattlesnakes view humans as predators, your prolonged presence could encourage a defensive strike."
The rattlers, which are venemous, turn up this time of year as the reptiles seek to mate, executive director/president of Herpetological Associates, Inc. Robert Zappalorti told police.
If you spot a rattler – they are normally prevalent in Roosevelt City, Fox Hollow and Timber Green, according to police – you should stay a safe distance away since the snakes "can strike at a distance up to 1/2 their body length."
Police also point out that the rattlers (click here to learn more about the snakes) are protected under the state’s Endangered Species Act so you shouldn’t even get very close.
If you spot a rattler, call 1-877-WARN-DEP to talk to a biologist, said police. If you’re bitten, call 911 immediately.