Zookeepers give advice on dealing with snakes this summer

WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.
Published: Jun. 12, 2022 at 8:23 PM EDT
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SLADE, Ky. (WYMT) - With the weather warming up, more people will be spending time outdoors, which can increase the risk of encountering wildlife or even them encountering you.

Having a run-in with one creature in particular may leave many wanting to slither out of their skin.

“Having snakes around is great for the environment, they need to be there, but us being aware of them can also help to understand those things, but to also treat the snakes with respect, but in treating them with respect, you end up having fewer accidents and problems for people too,” said Kat Dale, Zookeeper with the Kentucky Reptile Zoo in Slade.

Brock Moyer, also a Zookeeper at the reptile zoo, said if you encounter a snake while outdoors, it is best to leave it alone.

“If you get too close to it, that’s when both parties have a problem,” said Moyer.

If a snake gets too close for your liking, you can always shew it away or walk in the other direction.

If you are at home, Dale said a good way to scare a snake off is to spray it with a water hose. That way you can solve the problem all while keeping your distance.

Moyer added even when you are in your yard, it is important to be aware of all of the places snakes could be hiding to avoid any accidents from happening.

“If you have something sitting out in the yard, if you have wood, or branches, or even a dog bowl, whatever it is, they’ll use it for cover because they’re looking for a safe place to go,” he said.

Dale said if you are out on a walk, it is important to take larger strides when walking over branches or logs in case a snake is hiding underneath of them.

Those with the reptile zoo said there are several non-venomous snakes native to the Eastern Kentucky region: Garter snakes, Rat snakes and Kingsnakes are just a few.

While there are also two venomous snakes that are common to the area: the Eastern Copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake.

Dale added, even if you are unaware of the different types of snakes native to our region and you happen to get bit, you should always treat the situation as though the snake was venomous.

“If it is venomous or you think so, the only thing to do is to go to a hospital. If it is venomous then it requires anti-venom. That is the only treatment to stop the venom and a hospital is the only place that would have that.”

If you are bitten by a venomous snake and require anti-venom, there is a chance the treatment came from the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.

The reptile zoo is a global hot spot for snake venom.

The zoo extracts venom from rattle snakes to ship to pharmaceutical companies and researchers to create medicine and, of course, life saving anti-venom, to treat those who have been bitten.

Dale said they will extract venom from six hundred to a thousand snakes each week.

To learn more about the native snakes of Kentucky, you can click here.

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