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Watch out for stray snakes along Indiana trails

Posted at 1:40 PM, Nov 16, 2017

WAVERLY, Ind. – Leading nature lovers in Morgan County want to remind you not to let your guard down when you’re taking a jaunt on your local trails.

What might first appear to be a stick may just be one of Indiana’s many friendly reptiles.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says native snakes hibernate from late fall through early spring.

But just because the temperatures are falling doesn’t mean you won’t see a brave snake or two slithering across your path out there.

Just take the image with this story: The Morgan County Parks and Recreation Department snapped it this week on the Waverly Riverwalk along the White River.

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If you aren’t the biggest fan of snakes and you happen to come across one on a trail or sidewalk, know this: Of the 33 species of snake that call Indiana home, only four of them are venomous.

In Morgan County, you’ll probably see only two of those four species: The Copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake (which is a state-endangered species).

Most of the time, DNR experts say a snake bites a person only when you’re accidentally stepping on it: Snakes don’t go out of their way to cause you harm.

“If you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone. When a snake bites a person, it does so in self-defense,” the DNR says.

Here’s a quick guide to telling the difference between a venomous and non-venomous snake in Indiana:

  • A venomous snake will have pits on its head, which will be triangular-shaped with the neck much skinnier than its head. Meanwhile, non-venomous snakes have a head that’s more continuous with its body.
  • Venomous snakes have elliptical (vertical) pupils, while non-venomous snakes have round pupils.

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