Many people either do not know anything at all about Kansas snakes or have misconceptions about them. Most have heard so many stories about snakes that they fear all of them. This fear is unfounded. It is important to learn to identify the poisonous snakes that might be encountered in a given area and realize that all other snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, salamanders and turtles do not have a poisonous bite and need not be feared.
Conserving snakes is another aspect. Too many people kill snakes unnecessarily just because they are snakes. There is no more reason to kill a nonpoisonous snake than a song bird. In many cases, snakes are of direct economic value.
In Kansas, snakes are protected by state law. You should obtain a collecting permit from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks before attempting to catch and keep a snake.
Myths about Snakes
- Rattlesnakes cannot cross a horsehair rope—they can!
- Cottonmouth water moccasins cannot bite under water—they can!
- Rattlesnakes always rattle before they strike—not always!
- The rattles present on the tail of a rattlesnake indicate the snake's age—no, a new segment is added each time that the skin is shed, which may occur several times during a year.