Get ready, NJ — First come the cicadas, then the snakes
And the hits just keep on coming. By now you’ve probably heard about the 17 year cicada invasion that’s coming this Spring to New Jersey, but did you know that along with the cicadas come snakes?
According to the Patch, when the Brood X cicadas emerge, copperhead snakes follow them looking for an easy snack. The cyclical emergence of the cicadas offers a veritable buffet for predators, including the venomous copperhead, which lives in New Jersey. Although copperheads do carry venom, it is mild and is unlikely to kill a human.
The cicadas are expected to emerge from their 17 year nap sometime next month, and there should be a lot of them, like a billion throughout the 15 states they call home.
The cicadas are part of Brood X, the largest and most widely distributed brood of the insects and the snakes will be hunting them. The pretty much defenseless cicadas are easy pickings for the copperheads, although the cicadas only live for a few months after emerging anyway.
They mate, the females (who don’t make noise) lay eggs and then they die. Not much of a life. Once the eggs hatch, the young cicadas burrow into the ground and the cycle starts all over again.
The copperhead is typically reclusive and hard to spot but such a feast as the cicadas offer is expected to bring them out in unusually large numbers.
Don’t worry, though, they aren’t interested in humans and will only strike defensively. Just in case, though, you might want to keep an eye on the ground when you hear the song of the cicada.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.