Can anyone identify these snakes?

This is a discussion on Can anyone identify these snakes? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Looks like a viper-shaped head to me. My uneducated thought is: poisonous. But I'm not certain. Checking around on the internet for some possibilities, to ...

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Thread: Can anyone identify these snakes?

  1. #46
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Looks like a viper-shaped head to me. My uneducated thought is: poisonous. But I'm not certain.

    Checking around on the internet for some possibilities, to me it looks a lot like the Massasauga rattlesnake. (Check the banding across the head/face, and the square-ish color blocks along the back.) It's relatively uncommon but located in the Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota area of the country. They're a swamp snake, liking cool/wet spots (like pools), with adults growing to ~20-30" in length.

    Snakes of Minnesota: click.

    Wikipedia has a list of rattlesnakes: varieties. Perhaps you can find them in there.

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  3. #47
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    I'm no Herpetologist, but man that sure looks like a vipers head to me.
    ViperHead.jpg
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  4. #48
    Member Array xchief1's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input. I have looked at all the sights that you recommended but still not sure what they are. I have some time off this afternoon and may contact the MN DNR. I also have a few other people in my office trying to help me identify them. I will keep you posted.
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  5. #49
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    Massasauga

    Think they look indenticaly.

    Thomas
    Attached Images

  6. #50
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    Duel wielding chainsaw action I like that. You might want to get the holy hand grenade for the squirrel though! First thing I noticed when I saw the pictures of those snakes was the head. Gives me an odd feeling inside.

    I now hate snakes, after being chased by a water moccasin. Yes, CHASED.
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  7. #51
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    I hate smakes also, cam across a rather large copper head in my garage two years ago, right after a very sever storm. Needless to say the snake was dragged to the driveway (it had crawled into a milk crate) and then shot twice, second time for good measure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xchief1 View Post
    Thanks for all the input. I have looked at all the sights that you recommended but still not sure what they are. I have some time off this afternoon and may contact the MN DNR. I also have a few other people in my office trying to help me identify them. I will keep you posted.
    In an earlier post P7 found that contact information to report rare sightings to:

    Sharron Nelson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
    500 Lafayette Road, Box 25
    St. Paul, MN 55155-4025
    sharron.nelson@dnr.state.mn.us
    (651) 296-6157


    email her that photo and see if she can get it identified for you. I bet she is going to be interested in them if they do turn out to be Black Rattlers.

  9. #53
    Member Array xchief1's Avatar
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    If they turn out to be black rattle snakes and are endangered and I notify the DNR, will I have to get their permission to mow my yard or move dirt around on my property?
    Luck is not a feeling it's a way of life

  10. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by xchief1 View Post
    If they turn out to be black rattle snakes and are endangered and I notify the DNR, will I have to get their permission to mow my yard or move dirt around on my property?
    I can't imagine they would go to those extremes; I could see them coming out and collecting the snakes. I don't believe they would actively promote you keeping a venomous snake on your property, regardless of its status as a species; plus it's not actually a federal endangered species, only an endangered species in MN because they don't see them there anymore.

  11. #55
    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xchief1 View Post
    If they turn out to be black rattle snakes and are endangered and I notify the DNR, will I have to get their permission to mow my yard or move dirt around on my property?
    I wouldn't worry about that. I would contact them and get it confirmed if they are a poisenous snake or not. If it is the black rattler, than they may want to come out and search the area for any others and have them relocated. This is a good thing for you, so you don't have poisenous snakes around, since there are "no poisenous snakes in Minnesota".

    If it turns out that someone has dumped an exotic pet, then this could help aid in an investigation since the practice is typically illegal.

    Either way, good luck! And yes, I would keep my hand out of the bucket until I knew for sure what they are.
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  12. #56
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    Don't know what .....

    Quote Originally Posted by schwaa View Post
    Duel wielding chainsaw action I like that. You might want to get the holy hand grenade for the squirrel though! First thing I noticed when I saw the pictures of those snakes was the head. Gives me an odd feeling inside.

    I now hate snakes, after being chased by a water moccasin. Yes, CHASED.
    they are xchief,but I know what they 'ain't. They are no cottonmouths. Schwaa, I feel your pain. Cottonmouths are known to be very aggressive. I, too, have been pursued by them. Not only that, but have had one climb into my bass boat several years ago. No exageration here. Woe be to one standing near a freshwater body of water at dusk when cottonmouths begin coming onto the shore, sometimes seemingly in groups.
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  13. #57
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    This might be of some help.Species profile: Minnesota DNR

    Some other info from their site.
    Uncommon venomous snakes
    There are only two species of venomous snakes in Minnesota. They are rare, occur only in the southeastern counties of Minnesota, and are protected under state regulations.

    Massasauga
    The massasauga, an extremely rare snake, is listed as "endangered" in Minnesota, with few recorded sightings in the state. All records are from along the Mississippi River south of Wabasha. No sightings have been reported in recent years.

    Both species of venomous snake are dangerous but their bites are rarely fatal. No one has died from a venomous snakebite in Minnesota for over 100 years. If seen, these snakes should be left alone. Learn more about massasaugas and find them in the Rare Species Guide..

    Timber rattlesnake
    The timber rattlesnake is found in the blufflands region along the Mississippi River from Red Wing south. This species is listed as "threatened" in Minnesota.

    The fox snake and bullsnake are sometimes confused with timber rattlesnakes because they will defend themselves and will vibrate their tails. The tail vibrations can sound like a rattle if the tail is in dry leaves. These two species are harmless and beneficial. They eat destructive rodents such as mice and should not be killed. Both species live in the southern half of the state.

    The Department of Natural Resources has a rattlesnake relocation team. If you live in southeastern Minnesota and encounter a rattlesnake in your yard, call 507-280-5070. They will provide advice and/or assistance regarding the rattlesnake.
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  14. #58
    Distinguished Member Array Rcher's Avatar
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    Guys, you're scaring the OP ...

    There are only 2 known venomous snakes still calling Minnesota home. First is the timber rattler and second is the massasauga. The Minnesota DNR cannot even confirm that the massasauga even still exists here. Either way, both of these snake species live in the southeastern portion of the state along the bluffs of the Mississippi river valley.

    In MN, gopher snakes are as common as a garter snake. They are prolific in the state. I have seen them hundreds of times while deer or pheasant hunting. I have never in 40 years heard of even a hunting dog being bitten by a venomous snake in Minnesota.

    To the OP ...

    Grab those snakes with gloves if you have to, put 'em in a paper bag and take them to the DNR for ID. Calling animal control will most likely get them removed from your pool. Whatever you do, please get us an official report, I highly doubt they are venomous.
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  15. #59
    Member Array llongshot's Avatar
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    I never cease to be amazed at the propensity of the general public to identify every snake as poisionous. They're King Snakes. I've raised them. Most likely Prarie Kings. Turn them loose. They do more to keep mice under control than your cats. They actually will eat other snakes. These snakes vary in color from dark green or dark brown to the pattern you have. The Hog Nosed thing is ridiculous. Hog nosed snakes have a turned up nose that makes them look like they got hit in the face with a boat paddle. The Copperhead (eyes the color of honey with a slit like those of a cat), Rattlesnake, and Cottonmouth are Pit Vipers and have shorter heavier bodies and their poison glands are situated in their heads in a position that causes a very noticeable triangular shape. The only poisionous snake in the United States that doesn't have the triangular head is the Coral Snake. The Coral and the southern variety of the King Snake are often confused. The Coral snake is rear fanged and has to chew it's venom into very small prey. The Coral is has stripes that are red/yellow/black/repeated and the King is red/black/yellow/black/repeated. The only other thing of note is that the Hog Nosed variety (called Spreading Adder here) has a very unique defensive sequence. This snake will rear its head and spread out like a Cobra. If that don't get the job done it will usually spit up a toad hoping it'll look more appetizing than they do (their jaws have elongated teeth in the rear to deflate a puffed up toad to facilitate swallowing) and roll upside down and play dead. Too much information? I love the outdoors. All of it. I don't kill snakes unless they're a threat to someone and I can't relocate them. If you need credentials I've been picking up snakes for about fifty years and although I've been bitten over a hundred times I've never mistaken a poisionous snake for one that isn't.

  16. #60
    Member Array xchief1's Avatar
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    llongshot, I have no intention of killing them. If you read one of my first post, 20 years ago I RESCUED a bull snake and returned him to the wild. I will do the same with these snakes.

    Per Punk Rocka's rcommendation I have forwarded pictures to the MN DNR asking for help identifying them.

    In the meantime here is what a animal handler from Green Bay Wisconsin said about them:

    ...okay, well the white furry thing is not a snake... and from what I can tell on the other picture (the color isn't that good), they look like young Fox Snakes. A lot of people call them pine snakes, but that's just a common, local name. He might have a hibernaculum around his house (where they all come together to hibernate for the winter in a group to save body heat/energy). They do look like young - they probably hatched out this past spring nearby, so now they're all coming together again for the winter. They'll reach an average of 4 feet or so - they should get to be a brighter gold color. They actually have quite the unique defense mechanism: they have the basic coloring as rattlesnakes and they can actually 'rattle' their tails, even though they do not actually have rattles. It's pretty odd and it'll spook the pants off you if you surprise one of them and don't know what you're dealing with, but they're absolutely nothing to worry about - they're actually relatively gentle and they are NOT dangerous. We had a few at the WLS that we used as program snakes - they become very easily handleable with time. They're called Fox Snakes, though, because if you do try to pick one up or threaten one, and they're not used to it, they can release a nasty smelling substance that smells a lot like a fox - not a real pleasant odor... but they'll eat all the mice and frogs and toads they can get their "hands" on. They come together to hibernate, but then they'll disperse in spring, so it's not as if he'll have all of these snakes on his property - they'll find their own territories and then get together again in the fall... ask him if he's got wood piles, etc. nearby. That's probably where they're headed...

    He may want to get a i.d. book and look at the colors and compare them to Fox Snakes - I think that's what they are, but, again, it's really hard to tell from the picture...

    How's that??? (It's fun to talk about this stuff again instead of discussing Elmo and The Wiggles.)
    Luck is not a feeling it's a way of life

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