MEANS MORE SNAKES WILL BE VISIBLE
people appreciate autumns cooler temperatures and fall colors.
I personally like fall because snakes are much in evidence. North American
snakes actually occur in greater numbers in the fall than any other
time of the year and often are more visible because vegetation cover
I like snakes, autumn is here, and people are more likely to see snakes,
I feel justified in writing once again about these often reviled but
quite important components of our natural environments.
snakes are born in August or September. Due to natural deaths and a
few that are intentionally caused by humans, the actual numbers of every
snake species decrease each month from autumn of one year to the next.
Baby snakes often make their debut around houses as they search for
their first meal before cold weather arrives.
reason for the prevalence of snake sightings in the fall is that both
adults and young begin searching for safe hiding places to spend the
winter dormancy period.
they are more active aboveground than normal, they are more likely to
be seen. Some species, such as canebrake and timber rattlesnakes, mate
in the fall and can often be seen crossing roads.
many reports of autumn snake sightings. A typical snake inquiry is generally
from someone who has just had a close encounter.
usually just want to be assured that the snake in their yard is not
one of the venomous species. I am wary of identifying a snake based
on someones verbal description, even though I may think I know
what it is.
a snake in an attic is nearly always a rat snake and would almost never
be a rattlesnake, cottonmouth, or copperhead. But I do not want to declare
that it is unquestionably a rat snake.
in biology are all too common, and I would not want to have someone
bitten by the one copperhead in a thousand that decided an attic was
a nice place to hide.
photography has been a significant advancement in snake identification.
An email with a brief description of location and habitat accompanied
by an attached photo of the snake itself is usually all that is required.
I do not
claim that all snakes are harmless. Clearly, some protect themselves
with fangs and venom, and under certain circumstances people end up
as the victims. So, yes, some snakes can hurt you. But so can some dogs.
I can say
on behalf of snakes that, just as with dogs, you usually have no cause
for alarm. Snakes are not out to hurt or bother anyone they just
want to be left alone to find food, another snake, or a hiding place.
knowing that no venomous snake in North America will intentionally pursue
a person, although some will stand their ground and even strike if you
get too close. But they never ever come looking for you.
environments, which include snakes, are priceless. Because of peoples
fascination with and fear of these sinuous reptiles, snakes serve as
a barometer of the publics mindset toward wildlife and natural
about snakes are one measure of the extent and effectiveness of environmental
education in a region.
rule for anyone who does not like snakes is to leave them alone. But
a more productive approach is to get to know a herpetologist or at least
someone knowledgeable about and comfortable with snakes.
you learn about our native wildlife and their habitats, the more youll
enjoy those autumn walks, even if its just a stroll around your
some people will probably never learn to acknowledge snakes as an acceptable
component of our natural habitats.
narrow-mindedness is dwindling as society becomes more educated about
all our native wildlife species and more accepting of the minor risks
and major benefits that accrue to protecting them and their habitats.
you have an environmental question or comment, email