Snake in the Grass

Dale Miller, photographer
Garter snake. Dale Miller, photographer

Rangers on patrol at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park were approached by individuals who reported a gun shot from a house adjacent to park property.  The local police department was contacted while one Ranger stayed in the area to observe the house and one Ranger checked all the nearby parking lots and trails just to make sure the area was safe.  The local police department arrived on scene and made contact with the owner of the house.  The owner informed the officer he had shot a snake that was “up by the house and being aggressive.”

Sigh.

Just a reminder folks, snakes don’t want to hurt you.  Not every snake is a copperhead or a rattler.  While we do have three species of venomous snakes in Ohio, the Northern copperhead, Eastern massasauga and timber rattlesnake, they are not that commonly seen.  And even they don’t want to hurt you.  Their venom is for obtaining food.  They don’t want to waste it on something they can’t eat (aka, you).  Many snakes, including the non-venomous variety, may try to bite or act aggressive when cornered or captured.  But, wouldn’t you?  The overwhelming majority of time, if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone.

We get it though.  We truly do. Not all of us Rangers are big fans of snakes, especially if they see us before we see them.  But we also see them for the amazing creatures they are.  We know they don’t want to hurt us. And we know many of our native snakes are beneficial, helping to keep the rodent population in check.  So, give them a break.  Let them do what they do.  Observe them from a distance.  Take a moment to learn about their biology.  Get over the fear and marvel in their beauty.

Learn more about Ohio’s reptiles>>

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