Snakes re-emerge in Kansas City area as weather warms

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 8:12 PM CDT
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OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - As warmer weather makes its way across the metro, some critters are just waking up from their winter naps.

With hotter temperatures comes more wildlife. As we start to spend more time outdoors for summer, we may notice some snakes soaking up the sun. But experts say this isn’t a cause for concern.

“You don’t have to be too concerned as long as you are paying attention to where you’re walking, or you’re putting hands,” Andrea Joslin with the Ernie Miller Nature Center said. “And I like to tell people whenever they’re outside, make sure you wear tennis shoes or boots to cover your feet.”

Kansas and Missouri are home to some 40 different species of snakes. Most snakes are non-venomous, except for three — the copperhead, the timber rattlesnake, and the massasauga. In the metro, the more common of three is the copperhead. But if you see the snakes slithering about, don’t be afraid. Snakes move slower than an adult human can run, and no one in Kansas has died from a venomous snakebite in over 50 years.

Joslin says it’s a good idea to keep pets on leashes when outside. Since they don’t know the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes, if they try to pick one up it will bite them.

The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department shared this helpful guide to identify snakes and what different types are known for.