How Many Poisonous Snakes Are There In Missouri?

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Missouri is home to five species of venomous snakes: the copperhead, cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake, western pygmy rattlesnake, and massasauga rattlesnake. These snakes are typically found in wooded areas, rocky hillsides, and near bodies of water. While encounters with venomous snakes are rare, it is important to be cautious when exploring the outdoors in Missouri and to be able to identify these species in order to avoid potential danger.

What is the hunting season for snakes in Missouri?

The hunting season for snakes in Missouri varies depending on the species of snake. For non-venomous snakes, there is no specific hunting season and they can be legally captured year-round. However, for venomous snakes such as copperheads and timber rattlesnakes, there is a designated hunting season from May 15 to October 31 in most counties in Missouri. It is important to check local regulations and obtain any necessary permits before hunting snakes in Missouri.

How to differentiate between harmless and poisonous snakes in Missouri?

There are several ways to differentiate between harmless and poisonous snakes in Missouri:

  1. Look at the snake's coloring and patterns: Most venomous snakes in Missouri have distinct patterns and colors, such as the copperhead's hourglass-shaped markings or the timber rattlesnake's dark crossbands. Harmless snakes typically have more uniform colors and patterns.
  2. Consider the shape of the snake's head: Venomous snakes in Missouri generally have triangular-shaped heads, while harmless snakes have slender, rounded heads.
  3. Look for a pit between the snake's eye and nostril: Venomous snakes in Missouri, such as the copperhead and timber rattlesnake, have heat-sensing pits located between their eyes and nostrils. Harmless snakes do not have these pits.
  4. Listen for a rattle: If you hear a rattling sound, it is likely coming from a rattlesnake, which is venomous. Harmless snakes in Missouri do not have rattles.
  5. Consider the snake's behavior: Venomous snakes in Missouri are generally more aggressive and defensive, while harmless snakes are more likely to flee when approached.
  6. Consult with a local wildlife expert or herpetologist: If you are uncertain about a snake's identification, it is best to seek guidance from a knowledgeable professional to ensure your safety.

How many snake species are protected in Missouri?

There are a total of 38 snake species protected in Missouri.

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