Snakes make their springtime debut in local area

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Reporter - Kendall Downing

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. - Our picture-perfect spring likely has many people spending time in the garden, by the pool, or on the lake. More time outdoors means we're crossing paths with Mother Nature. And that means snakes.

This time of year, they are everywhere.

Hollywood introduced us to Snakes On A Plane, with a little bit of added drama. But in real life, the slithery creatures call the ground home, and they're making their annual springtime debut.

"Lots of people are asking about snakes right now," said Kim King-Wrenn with Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.

King-Wrenn manages the visitors center in Williamson County. She said it's common to run into snakes around your home, in flower beds, or even in your yard, but usually there's no reason for alarm.

"Snakes have a role to play in the ecosystem. They eat mice. They're great to have around the house to cut down on rodents," she said.

One of the most common varieties of snake is the Garter Snake. They eat insects and some small rodents and are not venomous.

Rat snakes are frequently seen in this area and can come in many colors, usually black. They can be quite large and eat mice, but don't contain venom.

The Copperhead is venomous and common in the Midwest and South. Copperheads have a triangular head that's wider than their body. They make their homes in dry places and nest in groups.

"They'll just be lying around. They're not going to bother you if you don't bother them," said King-Wrenn.

She said Copperheads are a fairly lazy snake and don't move unless provoked.

Especially in the summer, water is the place to find many kinds of snakes, so if you're going there, King-Wrenn said you should be careful. Even non-poisonous ones can attack.

"All animals bite. If it has a mouth, it can bite," she said.

Rangers advise if you are bitten by any type of snake you should seek medical attention, even if the snake isn't venomous. That's because infection can be common with any wildlife bite.

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