I am not a huge fan of snakes.  Well, snakes that are out in the wild. I don't mind a snake someone has as a pet or something.

I mean, I'm not full on scared of them or anything, but if I see one without a human controlling it, I want to immediately leave the facility.  I wouldn't want to hurt it or anything, I'd just want it away from me.  One time a garden snake got into our studios, and I had to have the news guy get it and take it outside.

Another time a snake came up my grandma's toilet and she had to call the police.  That would freak me out, admittedly.

But not all snakes are bad, and some snakes are even in danger.   In fact, there are two snakes in Missouri that are illegal to kill or even own.  Like this guy.

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.
Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

He's called a  Prairie Massasauga, and he's venomous.  According to the MDC's Website:

The prairie massasauga is a medium-sized, dark rattlesnake with a short, thick body. General coloration is light gray to dark gray, with rows of dark to light brown blotches down the middle of the back and along both sides. The belly is generally light colored. The head is a thick diamond shape with dark stripes extending back from the eyes. The tail has a stubby rattle. Like other venomous snakes, they have “pits” on the sides of their heads, and the pupils are diamond-shaped (not round). The other rattlesnake of north Missouri, the timber rattlesnake, grows much larger and has a rusty stripe down its back. Human deaths caused by its bite are rare, but studies show that the massasauga's venom is highly toxic, so it must be respected and classified as dangerous.

Admittedly he's pretty to look at, but I would not want to meet him out in a field somewhere.  Exit stage left, you know?

And then there's this snakeu!

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.
Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

She's the Mississippi Green Water Snake. Again, straight from the MDC:

A medium-sized, dark-colored, heavy-bodied snake, the Mississippi green watersnake was once somewhat common in southeastern Missouri but is now probably extirpated. The back is greenish brown with numerous small, obscure olive-brown or dark brown markings. The belly is dark gray with numerous yellow half-moon-shaped markings. Although not venomous, watersnakes bite viciously to defend themselves and also secrete a strong-smelling musk from glands at the base of the tail.
Dang, another creature I don't wanna meet in a dark alley. I can just see it jumping up and biting the heck out of  my arm, like, seven times. I couldn't find anything law related to let you know what the consequences are for killing these snakes, but I did manage to find out a little something.  The Wildlife Code of Missouri classifies snakes as non-game animals, meaning there is no open season for them. It’s therefore illegal to hunt or kill them.  But I don't know if you'll get a fine or something if you're confronted by a Missouri Game Warden.
I guess its best sometimes to just walk away, you know?  Or do that thing my Dad taught me when you're out in the woods!  He said you should always bring a stick with a little kind of V shape on the bottom, so if you see a snake, you can push the stick on its head and walk away.  Yes, just walk away.
Snakily yours,

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