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Is Missouri Known For Snake Attacks?

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Osage copperhead photo by Tom R. Johnson, herpetologist, Missouri Department of Conservation.

Osage copperhead photo by Tom R. Johnson, herpetologist, Missouri Department of Conservation.

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Should you be afraid of a snake attack while enjoying the outdoors this summer?

Dan Zarlenga with the Missouri Department of Conservation says no, “The only reason a snake would bite a human is in self-defense. We are not something they would eat. They don’t consider us a prey animal. We are a higher predator than they are. Most bites occur when folks try to pick up snakes, handle them, kill them, or harass them in some way”

Zarlenga says Missouri has five types of venomous snakes: Copperhead, Timber Rattler, Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin), Pygmy Rattler, & Missasauga Rattler.

He says they like to hide in rocks, wood piles, and by water, “The best thing you can do when hiking or walking in areas where snakes might be living is to wear sturdy hiking boots and long pants like blue jeans.

Fifty-two-year-old Timothy Levins of St. Charles died this week after being bitten by a Copperhead he was handling at a cabin in southeast Missouri’s Sam A. Baker State Park.

Zarlenga calls the situation rare, and says you are more likely to die by lightning strike, dog attack, or a fall on ice than by snake bite, “I think of it as like getting on an airplane. Certainly, there are some plane crashes and people die, but 99.99% of people who get on planes will get off alive. That’s pretty much how you can think about snakes, as well.”

 

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