JOPLIN, Mo. — With the summer months ahead and warm temperatures this week, more snakes are starting to make an appearance.
“In the winter time, they are going to be found, you know, underground, in holes, hiding from those colder temperatures, and then as those temperatures warm up, they’re going to come out, and we will see more of them. People are more likely than not, seeing more snakes because the temperatures have risen quite a lot in the past couple days, this week we’re seeing warmer temperatures which brings those snakes out to sit on the rocks and warm up in the sunshine,” said Kensi Tillman, Missouri Department of Conservation.
Kensi Tillman, a naturalist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, tells us which venomous snakes to look out for in the Southwest part of the state.
“Well in total, we have around 49 species, and sub-species, of snakes in the whole state of Missouri. Only 6 of those are venomous, and only 4 of those we actually see here. Only 2 of them are really common, which would be the Copperhead and the Cottonmouth,” Tillman said.
There are also a variety of common snakes that we are more likely to see.
“Everything that you see here behind me is going to be a common snake that we have in Missouri. Black rat snakes are very common, garter snakes are going to be a very common one that people will find in their gardens, and in their yards, and around their houses.”
Tillman also explains what to do if you encounter a snake.
“Good rule of thumb is that if you find a snake, see a snake is to just leave it alone. If you are not absolutely sure what kind of snake you’re looking at, just give it distance and it will do the same for you. The best practice is probably to just learn your venomous snakes. Like I said, we have 4 venomous snakes that are here in our area of the state, and if you learn what patterns to look for on those specific snakes then you typically will know if you’re looking at a venomous, just give it some distance, give it some space, and leave it alone,” she said.
The Department of Conservation says that snakes can become a problem in yards that have areas providing shelter for snakes, such as logs or rocks, and it might be a good idea to remove those.