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Venonous Snakes


RobJons
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I think it would be helpful if everyone had information on poisonous snakes. Living in Ohio we have only 3 poisonous snakes. Just being able to recognize these three will keep you safe and prevent other harmless snakes from being killed. I work in a hospital and patients always bring in snakes they have been bitten by, killed them in panic and hurry in the ER.

 

Please don't kill harmless snakes! It's our responsibility to know the wildlife around us and help preserve it while we are out there having fun!

 

Lets know these rules that apply for all US states.

Recognizing Venomous Snakes

 

NONVENOMOUS SNAKES

1. Head usually oval, but may be somewhat triangular.

2. Pupils round.

3. No pits-only nostrils present.

4. Divided scales on underside of tail

5. Although many snakes vibrate their tail when upset, nonvenomous snakes never have rattles

 

VENOMOUS SNAKES

1. Head distinctly triangular.

2. Pupils elliptical.

3. Pits as well as nostrils present.

4. Undivided scales on underside of tail.

5. Except for the copperhead, tail ends in a rattle.

 

Copy this and laminate for your travelpack.

 

In Ohio the 3 venomous snakes are the Copperhead, TimberRattleSnake and the Eastern Massauga. The rattle snake and Massauga are very rare in Ohio and both have rattles which easily identify. Copperheads are everywhere and prolific. Just recognizing this ONE poisonous snake can keep you SAFE! People think we have Cottonmouth/Water Moccasins in Ohio - we do not.

 

Know what to do when you have been bitten! Check the website. BE SAFE!

 

Check out Ohio DNR wildlife

Use above like to find and identify wildlife in your area of Ohio. Make your Geocaching an educational adventure as well.

 

Lastly a note on TimberRattlers in Ohio. If you find one, don't kill it. Take coord and notify Ohio Dept Natl. Resources through web site above.

 

Thanks! I hope others post the venomous snakes in there area. Florida and other southern states have lots of venomous snakes.

Edited by RobJons
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As a biologist with the PA Agency in charge of management of Reptiles in PA, I concur with your thoughts. I would only add more emphasis that NO snake should ever be killed just for being a snake. They are extremly important ecologically, and losing them would be sad indeed. In fact, PA may be adding the Timber Rattlesnake to its list of species of special concern listing habitat fragmentation as the #1 threat.

 

What gets me are the people who build their homes in areas where snakes use to bask (habitat fragmentation), and they now see snakes all around their homes. Duh! Unfortunatly, the paranoia kicks in and they usually kill everyone they see. You can explain it to them until they are blue in the face but paranoia is a powerful thing.

 

Most cachers I know are either very conscientious about snakes, or run the other way when they see any snake :o. Both of those situations usually bode well for the health of the animal.

 

Salvelinus

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I've been VERY near to pretty large rattlers twice this summer. On one cache trip I found my foot about 10" from the business end of a 3 foot rattlesnake. I just backed off slowly and that was the end of it. I don't kill them when I find them.

 

That's not to say I've never killed a rattlesnake. I ate a couple of them when I lived in the hills. Quite tasty.

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As a biologist with the PA Agency in charge of management of Reptiles in PA, I concur with your thoughts. I would only add more emphasis that NO snake should ever be killed just for being a snake. They are extremly important ecologically, and losing them would be sad indeed. In fact, PA may be adding the Timber Rattlesnake to its list of species of special concern listing habitat fragmentation as the #1 threat.

 

What gets me are the people who build their homes in areas where snakes use to bask (habitat fragmentation), and they now see snakes all around their homes. Duh! Unfortunatly, the paranoia kicks in and they usually kill everyone they see. You can explain it to them until they are blue in the face but paranoia is a powerful thing.

 

Most cachers I know are either very conscientious about snakes, or run the other way when they see any snake :o. Both of those situations usually bode well for the health of the animal.

 

Salvelinus

I very much agree -- no snake should EVER be killed just for being a snake! I feel that no snake should ever be killed at all! We live in a wilderness area west of Frederick Maryland, and we have a beautiful female copperhead who lives under our stone steps which lead from the house down to the mailbox. She is very quiet and patient, and will allow me to get within a few inches of her face to take up-close portraits with my digital camera -- those portraits of her adorn the walls of our house, along with a great foto of a large black rat snake which I found curled up eating an egg in our henhouse one day, much to the distress of the nearby hens.

 

There is also a great very old cache -- dating back to 2001 -- in the moutains near our home. It happens to be on a remote mountaintop which is inhabited by lots of black bear and literally TONS of rattlesnakes; in fact, the cache is located just yards from a large rock pile which probably sports one rattlesnake per square yard!. The logs for this cache are fun to read, because a number of cachers encounter either a bear or a rattlesnake!

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A buddy of mine was assigned to Australia as an Army exchange officer. He received an orientation briefing on dangerous flora and fauna. When the presenter opened the session for questions, my friend asked, "How do you tell the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes?" The Aussie looked puzzled. "Well, in the States, we have some rules of thumb..." and my friend gave the stuff about head shape, etc. Finally the presenter nodded.

 

"That's easy, mite," replied the Aussie. "If it's a snike, it's venomous."

 

Turns out that in Oz, that is the rule of thumb.

 

I concur strongly with the posters above. As a matter of responsible outdoorsmanship, and personal safety, it's rarely if ever a good idea to kill a snake (snike, for our Aussie readers).

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