Watch Your Step, More Rattlesnakes Are Emerging From Their Dens Around Iowa
As the weather has become consistently warmer across Iowa in recent weeks, many species of wildlife around the state have become more active. Birds are singing, nesting, and caring for their young. Bees and other insects can be spotted zipping through the air. And snakes have slithered out of their winter burrows to sun themselves on river banks and boulders.
In many cases, that's good news. The vast majority of snakes spotted in Iowa are nonvenomous or not medically significant to humans and pets.
Pictured is a hognose snake.
Garter snakes, water snakes, brown snakes, rat snakes, bullsnakes, hognose snakes, milk snakes, ring neck snakes, earth snakes, kingsnakes, green snakes, worm snakes, fox snakes, ribbon snakes - all these and more pose no threat to humans.
Pictured is a ring neck snake.
In fact, they do exactly the opposite, providing a crucial, cost-free pest control service to farmers, gardeners, and homeowners alike.
Pictured is a garter snake.
Still, as early spring turns to late spring and late spring to early summer, you still might want to watch your step. That's because about a dozen or so of Iowa's counties do serve as home to rattlesnakes.
Pictured is a Prairie Rattlesnake.
Specifically, the Timber Rattlesnake, the Eastern and Western Massasauga Rattlesnake, and the Prairie Rattlesnake have been reported in various portions of Iowa, and it's around this time of year when these cold-blooded creatures can be occasionally spotted emerging from their dens to soak up some blood-warming rays.
Pictured is a Massasauga Rattlesnake
How can you identify a rattlesnake? By the tail, of course, as well as various facial features and coloration patterns. If you do spot a rattle snake, give it a wide berth. It is against the law to kill any snake in Iowa, with only two exceptions: garter snakes and Timber Rattlesnakes within 50 yards of an occupied dwelling.
Pictured is a Timber Rattlesnake.
To learn more about all of Iowa’s snakes, visit the Reptiles and Amphibians of Iowa website, specifically,
the snake page. You’ll find pictures, data, identifying features, and other information on snakes and other interesting creatures that become more active this time of year! Are you fascinated by rarely seen Iowa creatures like rattlesnakes? Here are six other creatures that live in Iowa, but that you have to be lucky to spot.
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