By Cleve Bryan


AVALON, NJ – Susan Connor and her family were more than a little surprised Sunday evening when they came down to the beach at 62nd street in Avalon and saw something slithering in the surf.

“It popped out of the surf and we all kind of looked and said ‘what is it?’ thinking it might have been an eel or something. We stood up and walked over to it and it was a snake,” says Connor.

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According to several snake experts what Connor saw was a common garter snake, a small harmless species found throughout North America.

This is the second snake sighting on an Avalon beach this summer.

In July Sue Mitchell McArdle from Upper Darby posted a video online of a garter snake partially buried in the sand at the surfline at 42nd St in Avalon.

“On a beach it’s unusual, I mean that was unusual for a garter snake to be there,” says Steve Serwatka from Animal Control of South Jersey who serves as Avalon’s animal control officer.

He says he receives a few calls each summer for black rat snakes on the barrier islands but not usually garter snakes. He doesn’t see any trend with garter snakes growing in population in Avalon and thinks they probably came from the dunes.

“They love the high dunes an there’s probably a lot of toads and mice,” says Serwatka.