Reptile experts give snake safety tips for warmer months

WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.
Published: Jun. 11, 2023 at 6:42 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2023 at 11:52 PM EDT
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POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Warm weather can bring many critters, like snakes, out of hiding.

Before you encounter any snakes slithering around your property, staff with the Kentucky Reptile Zoo in Slade are looking to equip people with the information they need to prevent them from making a harmless situation much worse.

“A lot of people get themselves in trouble if they don’t realize the snake could be there, or they intentionally come in contact with a snake, so it’s just one of the other things you have to be smart about or aware of when you’re spending time outdoors,” said the zoo’s co-director, Kristen Wiley.

Lead zookeeper Kat Dale said snakes prefer to hide in small, enclosed spaces.

“Places that humans would see a lot that have great cover for snakes would be firewood piles, underneath dog bowls or toys that would be left outside, underneath tarps, piles of leaves or sticks, natural debris, would be good hiding places for snakes,” Dale said.

Both Wiley and Dale said it is important to be aware of your surroundings and to never put your limbs in areas you cannot see, like in a brush pile or inside a log.

Wiley said if you are bitten by a non-venomous snake, you would treat the wound like any other, but venomous snake bite requires an immediate trip to the hospital.

“If you’re concerned that you might not know what kind of snake it is, you will know that venom has been injected into you because it is going to hurt a lot, especially in this area,” Wiley said. “The snakes we have, their venom causes a lot of pain.”

Dale said if you encounter a snake while outdoors, it is best to leave it be.

“Snakes are important to have around. It’s not good just to kill them for the sake of it because they play an important role in the ecosystem, they eat rodents, they eat parasites that rodents carry, so things like ticks are reduces by the presence of snakes, so they do have a role to play,” Dale said.

For more information on the different kinds of snakes in the region, you can visit the Kentucky Reptile Zoo’s website or its YouTube page.