‘Mistaken Identity, Fear, and Misunderstanding’: A Snake’s Life in Connecticut

Don’t be scared by our slithery neighbors, says state.

The gartner snake is found across Connecticut. Photo courtesy of Paul J. Fusco, DEEP Wildlife Division
The gartner snake is found across Connecticut. Photo courtesy of Paul J. Fusco, DEEP Wildlife Division

They’ve been cast as movie villainsthe most dangerous monster in Harry Potter world, and associated with evil as far back as the Garden of Eden.

But we’ve got snakes all wrong, according to Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

“Snakes are probably some of the most misunderstood animals in the outdoors,” says Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEEP Wildlife Division, in a press release. “There is no need to fear or hate these reptiles. If you leave snakes alone, they will leave you alone.”

Just as we humans venture outside more as the sun comes out and the weather warms up, so do snakes. And they won’t necessarily respect yard boundaries the way our two-legged neighbors do.

DEEP encourages Connecticut residents not to panic when they come upon a snake. They are unlikely to be venomous, as the state’s two venomous varieties (timber rattlesnake and northern copperhead) are very rare. Residents tend to assume snakes are deadly, meaning “hundreds of snakes are needlessly killed by people each year because of mistaken identity, fear, and misunderstanding,” according to DEEP.

Instead, if residents find a snake in their home they should pick it up carefully so as not to cause injury, place it in a bag and release it back into an area not far away. If you come upon one outside, “you should observe and enjoy it from a distance and allow it to go on its way” says DEEP.

More information about snakes and snake conservation in Connecticut, as well as an identification guide, can be found on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife.

Tell us in the Comment section: have you ever come across a snake? What did you do?

MORE: Georgia Town Battles Influx of Poisonous Snakes

Jean Baran June 17, 2014 at 07:44 PM
Had a baby ring neck in my basement with its head stuck in lint...so I picked it up...used tweezers to get as much off as I could...then put it in a lg plastic cup with a stick and it got the rest off. I then checked it over and let it go...
Sheila June 18, 2014 at 06:50 AM
Something is venomous if it bites you and you die, poisonous if you eat it and you die. So all snakes aren't venomous, and not even the rattlesnake is poisonous (I hear it tastes like chicken!).
Bonnie June 18, 2014 at 07:48 AM
Last summer at Jackson's Cove in Oxford there was a snake near the water, I'm assuming it was a water moccasin and a group of boys were taunting it with sticks so of course the snake put it's head up ready to strike. Someone came along and killed the snake, I don't agree with killing it (even seeing that I'm deathly afraid of snakes, even little garden snakes!)! I think if the snake was just left alone it would've just went on it way, a good thing to teach your children is "Don't taunt a snake or any other animal with sticks" or anything for that matter! When I read the story here on the Patch I was a bit shaken by it seeing that nothing should be killed if it's not sick or causing a disturbance. And the last thing I need to say is I don't agree with picking up the snake either, personally I would run as far away as possible, I'd move out of my house if needed!! Haha, just kidding but really don't pick it up, you don't know what it'll do to you unless you're a trained professional.
Wanda Colman June 18, 2014 at 08:58 AM
Thank you DEEP for this article. I hope this helps to protect this misunderstood and rapidly vanishing species. Snakes are welcome and protected in my property by the river and I welcome any unwanted snakes. We must eradicate the out dated concept regarding snakes, especially that all snakes should be killed. I hope DEEP will provide more education on this topic before more of these beautiful and harmless creatures are needlessly destroyed. (weed whackers should be outlawed)
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