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How to stay safe this snake season in Missouri

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - It's that time of year when we see more snakes. It's important to know which ones are harmless and which are venomous to protect yourself this summer.

Matt Ormsby, a naturalist at the Missouri Department of Conservation explains what you need to know about snakes to stay safe this snake season.

How to tell the differences between venomous and non-venomous snakes:

  • Learn to identify patterns and colors of the venomous snakes in your region
  • Copperhead has Hershey`s kiss shapes (hour-glass from above), and juveniles have bright yellow-green tail tips
  • Timber Rattlesnake is heavy-bodied, gray or brown with dark markings, rust-colored stripe running down the length of its body, rattle on tail
  • Triangular -shaped head vs. spoon-shaped
  • Cat-like elliptical pupils vs. round pupils
  • Heat-sensing pit in MO venomous snakes

What you should do if you see a venomous snake around your home or while hiking on a trail:

  • Leave it alone
  • Give it a safe distance, and it should move on
  • The majority of snakebites happen when a person is trying to pick up the snake or kill it
  • If you are bitten, seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • All snakes in Missouri are protected under the Wildlife Code. It is illegal to kill a snake unless it is threatening you or your property

For more information about the snakes in Missouri, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website.