Venomous snakes, in Wisconsin?

Venomous snakes carry certain identifying characteristics.

Everyone has a snake story and they often get exaggerated over time. A cute little garter snake quickly becomes a 6-foot, red-bellied snake with a triangular-shaped head. The bigger the snake, the better the story. Just like a big fish story. Sure, I have held snakes before, but never have I held one straight from the wild.  Holding a pet snake with a full belly is the only risk I am willing to take.  Snakes creep me out no matter how tough I pretend to be. But why? They are more afraid of you than you are of them … right?

According the the DNR website, the Badger State has as many as 21 different species of snakes slithering around. Don’t be  alarmed – only two kinds are poisonous, and they're not high in number.  The timber rattlesnake and the eastern massasauga rattlesnake are the only Wisconsin snakes to truly be afraid of. If you see one keep, your distance, or let it be. Don’t try and kill it. Especially if it is a massasauga. The massasauga is on the endangered list, along with the queen snake, western ribbon snake and the northern ribbon snake.  Of course, it’s illegal to harm any endangered species; unless a human or domestic animal’s life is in an immediate life-threatning situation.

Why are so many people afraid of snakes? Snakes  are sneaky. They are often associated with evil and poison. Some snakes, the constrictors, squeeze the life out of their prey, which also gives them a bad rap.  Fear of the unknown leads to hate. I am still not a big fan of snakes, but I do feel a little better about them now that I know how to identify poisonous snakes.The venomous snakes are found mostly in the southwestern part of the state. A poisonous snake has the following characteristics: the eyes are elliptical like a cat, they have a triangular-shaped head, a small depression on their snout, or has a rattle (rattlesnakes only). If you can see into a snake's eyes, you are probably too close. It’s helpful to know snakes can strike as far as half their body length.  I always wondered what “ keep a safe distance” meant. All snakes release anti-coagulates after they bite.  I am still indeed afraid of snakes, even after getting to know them better. I know we need them in the wild to help control the small rodents and pests. We need them, but the only pet snake my kids will ever have will be made of rubber.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, WisBlogs, Wisconsin – Kristen Monroe

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