Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | 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.

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

Land Between The Lakes Offers Free Cedar Christmas Trees

GOLDEN POND, Ky. (11/22/14) — Free Christmas tree permits for Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area will be… Read More

2015 Eagle Tours at Land Between the Lakes

KENTUCKY (11/23/14) — Winter offers the best time for viewing bald eagles at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation… Read More

Most Read This Week

November 21, 2014 5924

Man Accused of Assaulting Coach During Basketball…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
November 18, 2014 5233

Couple Charged for Concealing Food in Infant Car…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
November 21, 2014 3620

Crashing Dump Trucks in Work Zone Cause Pennyrile…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
November 19, 2014 3611

Two Killed When Vehicle Becomes Airborne, Strikes…

in Local (Owensboro) Top News by Daviess County Sheriff's Office
November 19, 2014 3553

Is Bankruptcy Your Best Option?

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
November 18, 2014 3534

Area Talent to Film Music Video at Merle Travis…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
November 22, 2014 3472

One Injured in Two Vehicle Collion in Greenville

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Miria Thomas
November 19, 2014 3115

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision on South…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gwen Smith
November 21, 2014 2878

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed Down

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
November 21, 2014 2619

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Nov. 21, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

November 22, 2014 1323

Kentucky Filmmaker to Release New Horror in March

in Top News For All Sites by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
November 23, 2014 1179

Motor Fuels Tax Rate to Decline by 4.3 Cents Per…

in Top News For All Sites by James Isaman
November 23, 2014 1088

Light of Chance, Inc. Re-Launches New, Innovative…

in Hopkins News by Eric Logan
November 23, 2014 1062

Flavorful Twist on a Sunday Brunch Staple

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
November 23, 2014 1026

KSP Post 2 Thanksgiving Holiday Enforcement

in General News For All Sites by Trooper S. C. Recke
November 23, 2014 916

Holiday Menu Planning for First-Time Hosts

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
November 23, 2014 842

Legislator's Log - Week of Nov. 23, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Brent Yonts
November 23, 2014 792

Wreaths to Honor the Fallen at State Veterans…

in General News For All Sites by Lisa Aug
November 23, 2014 768

Dave Says - Nov. 23, 2014

in General News For All Sites by Dave Ramsey
November 23, 2014 613

Life Christian Indoor Yard Sale Enjoys Growth…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


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

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss