Saturday, January 31, 2015
Davis Motor Sales banner ad
Posted on 2/2/14

snakes1 300WESTERN Ky. (5/16/13) – As summer approaches and more people are enjoying the outdoors, it is important to know what you are looking for, in case you come across a venomous snake.
 
According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, of the 32 species that live in Kentucky, only four are venomous. Ranging in sizes, some are slender and masters of camouflaging themselves, while others display vibrant colors. These snakes can be found living anywhere, from your backyard to deep inside the woods. Depending on their diet, some species may eat mice, birds, insects, toads and even other snakes. Despite their bad reputation, snakes can be very beneficial to our environment. Not only do they eat what we would consider pests, but they are also widely used in medical research.
 
Kentucky’s four most venomous snakes are the Copperhead, Western Cottonmouth, Timber Rattlesnake, and Western Pigmy Rattlesnake. When first encountering a snake, especially if you are not familiar with them can be a little tricky. However, there are ways to be able to distinguish between venomous and nonvenomous snakes.
 
All venomous snakes belong to a group called ‘Pit Vipers.’ This reference comes from the small pit-like opening located on each side of the head between the eye and nostril. Venomous snakes also have vertical pupils, whereas nonvenomous snakes are round. On a venomous snake, the scales underneath the tail will be in a single undivided row instead of a few distinct rows a nonvenomous snake would have. Venomous snakes also bare live young, therefore, any eggs that are encountered, are not venomous. There are other techniques such as; triangle head shape and a vibrating tail. The problem with that is some nonvenomous snakes are also able to imitate that characteristic (flatting their heads to make a triangle-shape) and rattlesnakes aren’t the only snakes that can vibrate their tails when they become alarmed.
 
Copperheads can average in length, from 8-40 inches and vary in general coloration from a reddish brown (coppery-red) to brown. One of the best ways to identify them is by the chestnut cross bands that are wide on the sides of the body and narrower across the back. Copperheads mate in the spring and their young is born live in late summer early fall. Copperheads are commonly known to live all across the state of Kentucky but have been seen more frequently in the western parts of Kentucky in places closest to water.
 
The Western Cottonmouth can average in length, from 8-46 inches and are typically a dark heavy-bodied snake. With the lack of obvious markings, it can make identifying this snake in a field a little harder, but a cottonmouth will often stand its ground in an open-mouth threat, that reveals the whitish interior of the mouth. Cottonmouths do have a scale above their eyes that slightly sticks out and almost always swims with its head completely out of the water. Cottonmouths have a limited distribution in Kentucky and are mostly found in the western part of Kentucky in or around water.
 
The Timber Rattlesnake can average in length, from 8-60 inches and is the state’s largest venomous snake. It too, is a heavy-bodied snake with dark and sometimes V-shaped cross bands on a gray, brown, yellow or greenish background. An obvious characteristic is the rattle on the tip of the tail. Timber Rattlesnakes typically do not rattle their tails unless they feel provoked. This species is mostly found in wooded areas of Kentucky. They mostly prefer south and southwestern parts that face slopes with rocky outcrops and bluffs. These snakes are very secretive, nonaggressive and their main defense is to lay motionless on the ground, relying on their color pattern to camouflage them. Timber Rattlesnakes are also long-lived and can survive up to 25 years in the wild. However, these snakes are undergoing a severe population decrease throughout their range. Kentucky is one of the few states that there is a healthy population of Timber Rattlesnakes.
 
The Western Pigmy Rattlesnake can average in length, from 5-20 inches and are a light grayish brown with dark spots on its back. It also has a faint “rusty” stripe that appears down its back and a skinny tail with a very small rattle that sounds like insect buzzing. These snakes also have a limited distribution in Kentucky and are mostly known to reside in parts of Calloway, Trigg and Lyons Counties. There isn’t much known about their habits, but they are also known to live near the water and feed off small rodents and small snakes.
 
Although snake bites are very rare, if you happen to be one of the unlucky few to get bitten, remain calm and seek professional medical care as quickly as possible.
 
For more information about Kentucky snakes, you can visit the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at http://www.fw.ky.gov.
 
Amber Mena
SurfKY News

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

January 28, 2015 17357

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 26, 2015 7739

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 25, 2015 7519

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 28, 2015 6655

Nortonville Man Accused of Meth Possession,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 26, 2015 5430

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 5378

Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of Child

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 25, 2015 5034

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller
January 28, 2015 4996

Tax Recall Committee Formed Day After School…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 22516

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 22128

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 29, 2015 5378

Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of Child

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 3425

UPDATE - Students Have until Jan. 31 to Enter…

in General News For All Sites by James R. Comer
January 29, 2015 2114

Kentucky Highway Crews Prepare for Possible…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 30, 2015 2099

Woman Arrested for Allegedly Attacking Police…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 29, 2015 1940

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

in Hopkins News by Barry Franklin
January 29, 2015 1909

Group Organizing Prayer Circle for Youth

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 1776

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
January 29, 2015 1761

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 29, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 29, 2015 1585

Keystone Approval Will Boost the Economy, Support…

in General News For All Sites by Robert Steurer
January 29, 2015 1525

Protect Your Sensitive Information from Hackers

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 1386

Whitfield Meets with Fort Campbell Soldiers

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
January 29, 2015 1341

Revive the Art of Letter-Writing

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News