Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Snake Population Growing, Know how to Identify Poisonous

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 2014 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.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

7 Signs You Are A Scout

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/24/14) — The influence of Scouting was quite evident as 100 business, community and government… Read More

Livingston County Traffic Advisory

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Ky. (4/24/14) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to restrict traffic to one lane on the US… Read More
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

April 22, 2014 10123

18 EPA Earth Day Events Take Action on…

in News by EPA
April 21, 2014 5493

Meet The Hopkins County Magistrate…

in News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 23, 2014 5191

Dawson Springs Letter Carrier Sentenced…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 22, 2014 4466

Three Juveniles Charged in Connection…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 21, 2014 3940

Fire Destroys Old Tobacco Building in…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

April 22, 2014 2687

Madisonville Woman Charged with Internet…

in Top Stories by Christopher Rogers
April 23, 2014 1446

MPD Detectives Investigate Hanson…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
April 21, 2014 613

Hanson Student Among 25 Receiving…

in Top Stories by Abbie Darst
April 22, 2014 495

Hopkins County School Board Approves…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 21, 2014 456

Jackson Named Kentucky Colonel During…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

April 21, 2014 3265

'Heath & Molly' Benefit Concert…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 21, 2014 1895

Owensboro Chamber Plans First ‘Lunch…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 22, 2014 1029

DCPS Among Top 100 Nationally for Finance…

in News by Lora Wimsatt
April 22, 2014 815

New Hwy. 54 Traffic Light to Go Into…

in News by Keith Todd
April 22, 2014 345

Owensboro Museum of Fine Art Plans Exhibit

in Top Stories by Mary Hood

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

April 22, 2014 4466

Three Juveniles Charged in Connection…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 21, 2014 3940

Fire Destroys Old Tobacco Building in…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 21, 2014 2131

One Injured in Rosewood Wreck

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 22, 2014 1675

Muhlenberg Last Day of School

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 22, 2014 1322

Parsons Named Student of the Month

in Top Stories by Joyce Riggs

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03