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Naturalist says short spring may explain snake sightings

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missourians who are moving outdoors as the weather should keep their eyes open for snakes.

Sam Stewart, a naturalist with the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, says people may believe they are seeing more snakes this year but that’s not necessarily true.

Stewart says because of the long winter and a short spring, snakes are emerging from hibernation all at once, rather than over several weeks as they normally would.

KRCG-TV reports there are 49 species and sub-species of snakes in Missouri and only six are venomous. The most common is the copperhead.

Stewart says the best thing to do if you see a snake is to back up slowly. He says most animals, including snakes, will bite only if they are harassed.