Missouri is a state full of many different types of animals. One of those animals is the snake. Now that spring has arrived, snakes are able to come out of their hibernation spots to spend the season eating, sunning themselves on rocks or in bushes, and mating. These creatures are an important part of the ecological system by helping to control the rodent population. Most people are happy to let snakes do their jobs, just from far away.
Missouri has many different species of snakes living in various types of habitats all over the state. Most Missouri snakes are harmless to humans such as rat snakes, water snakes, and prairie snakes. However, there are a few venomous species, such as the Eastern Copperhead, the Northern Cottonmouth, and the Western Pygmy Rattlesnake. Please note that snakes are fairly private creatures and would prefer to stay away from humans. They do their best to hide, escape, or at the least warn us that they are present.
Snakes prefer to live in cool, dark places, such as inside a basement or crawlspace. Homeowners can do a few things to help keep snakes outside:
- Seal any gaps in windows or doors.
- Seal any cracks in the foundation or skirting.
- Keep grass and/or bushes well maintained.
- Keep woodpiles away from the structure. These are great hiding places for snakes and rodents, a great food source for snakes.
Luckily for homeowners, by discouraging snakes from entering your home, they are also discouraging mice and rats from coming inside.
If you do encounter a snake, it is important that you do not approach them or attempt to capture them yourself. While there are only a few venomous snakes in Missouri, all scared animals can bite and if you are unsure of the species, it is best not to risk your or your family’s health.
Photos from Missouri Department of Conservation