Missouri snakes you might encounter this summer

Joplin News First

Lauren Copple, Naturalist & Educator, Wildcat Glades Friends Group gives us a summer refresher on head size and skin patterns

JOPLIN, Mo. — Sunday marked the first day of summer with everyone getting outside it’s time for a refresher course on snakes. And Lauren Copple, Educator & Naturalist, Wildcat Glades Friends Group, updates us on snakes that are native to our region that you might encounter.

QUICK REFERENCE CARD

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SIZE OF THE HEAD

“The wider head, where you see it says venomous (referring to quick reference card), behind the jaws they actually have venom glands. Which actually pushes them more out and makes them more distinctive,” Lauren tells us.

“The non-venomous snake does not have those [puffy sides] so he’s more of a flat head and slender, so it’s pretty easy to tell at first glance. Having a skinny head is almost a dead giveaway.”

PATTERNS ON THE BACK

A venomous snake is also noticable by the pattern. Referring to the image above Lauren tells us,”this top one is a pygmy rattlesnake. prairie massasauga , timber rattle and then the very common, copperhead.”

“A copperhead has those hershey kiss shapes on their side. They are not squares, they are not diamonds, they are very predominant triangles. And that’s the best way to know. Getting a card like this and studying those patterns. So you can really get to know your snakes.”

MISSOURI DEPT OF CONSERVATION

To learn more about Missouri snakes and copperheads and other snakes in our region CLICK HERE to visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

CLICK TO READ MORE ABOUT COPPERHEADS AND LAUREN COPPLE DISSECTS ONE THAT IS BROUGHT TO HER THAT HAS BEEN KILLED. VENOMOUS SNAKES DELIVER THEIR BABIES AS LIVE YOUNG

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