The weather is heating up and warmer temperatures mean more humans outside.
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The more humans are out doing dumb things, the more we're likely to encounter, and get bit by snakes. If you do happen to get bit, don't get bit by either of CT's two venomous snakes. Here is what you need to know.
Let's start with the good news, according to A-Z Animals, the Copperhead snake "is far too small to eat a person and only bites as a last resort." Now, the bad news, It is venomous, it is most active in the spring and it looks like the devil thanks to it's elliptical eyes.
For more on the Copperhead, I reached out to an expert that assists me with wildlife topics. Her name is Jen "The Zookeeper" Kotkin. This is what Jen told me about the Copperhead population in CT:
"Populations are spread out in Connecticut, but the greatest abundance of copperheads are found in the Central Connecticut Lowland ridges. These ridges are located on the western side of the Connecticut River in Hartford, Middlesex, and New Haven Counties. A copperhead bite often results in temporary tissue damage in the immediate area of bite. Their bite may be painful but is very rarely fatal to humans. Children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are always in more danger to be more sick from any venomous snake bite.
Eastern copperheads can be recognized by their dark brown hourglass markings overlaid on a coppery background. The thinnest portion of the hourglass shape is placed on the snake’s spine, with the larger segments along the sides. They also come in shades of dark brown or reddish-brown.
They are pit vipers and have heat sensing pits, located between their eyes and snout. This helps them detect mammals that give off body heat."
Bonus copperhead fact: Even just-hatched copperheads have fully functional fangs capable of injecting venom that is just as toxic as an adult's venom!"
The Timber Rattlesnake is venomous but an extremely rare sight. In fact, they are protected by the Endangered Species Act according to A-Z Animals.
Here is what Jen "The Zookeeper" Kotkin shared about the Timber Rattlesnake:
"They are stocky snakes with brown, tan, gray, dark gray, or yellowish bodies with darker V-shaped bands along their length. Their bellies are yellow. Their heads are much wider than their necks and have a triangular shape. Unlike the eyes of the non-venomous snakes in Connecticut, a rattlesnake's eyes have vertical pupils.
They can get up to 54 inches long. Their habitat consists of forest with rocky outcroppings and dry rocky ridges. They need large sections of uninterrupted forest to do well. After a rattlesnake bites its prey, the venom is injected. It then tracks its prey by heat and scent, until the venom sets in and kills the prey."
Bonus Timber Rattlesnake Fact:Rattlesnakes are born with one rattle button. Each time the skin is shed, another rattle segment can be added. However, the segments on the tip can break off so the number of rattle segments is not a measure of a rattlesnake's age.
Jen added: "These two venomous snakes, along with the other 12 Connecticut snake species, are not aggressive and will only bite if threatened or handled. If left alone, snakes pose no threat to people."
I say: "Panic, be afraid!"
Wildlife Correspondent Jen Kotkin:
Jen has been immersed in the conservation & science education field for over 30 years. While working as Director of Animal Care for The New Canaan Nature Center in Connecticut, she was responsible for the care of native wildlife and birds of prey, while teaching the public about the roles of these wild neighbors. While with the Bronx Zoo and Los Angeles Zoo, Jen’s main priority was the care of exotic hoofstock, again while teaching the public about the delicate balance of humans & habitats.
While working with a wildlife sanctuary in Half Moon Bay, CA, Jen played a major role in the wildlife training and handling of some 50 exotic species. Her major focus was creating curriculum for a variety of programs including at-risk and foster youth programming. These programs encompassed helping fragile children gain a sense of trust and worth while developing a healing relationship with the non releasable wildlife at the sanctuary.
Currently, Jen is the owner and sole proprietor of Jen Kotkin Pet Care, providing pet care as well as mental and physical exercise & stimulation for dogs, cats, horses, birds and more!
Jen continues to create a variety of programs catered to the needs of many organizations. Her passion for teaching about the natural world to those around her is important, and hopes to ignite this spark for others, just as it did for her!
Want more CT News? Check out the Ethan, Lou & Large Dave Podcast on Apple and Spotify.
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