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Biological Survey

Herping the Siouxland

Snakes of the Minnesota River Valley:

     

      The "Bend of the River" area at Mankato still supports a wonderful variety of Reptiles and Amphibians. One of the main reasons for this is the rugged terrain of the Minnesota River Valley and nearby creeks and rivers.  Exposed Limestone rock formations also provide easy access to underground Winter hibernation dens. Many of the species on this page once roamed the open prairies and grasslands away from the wooded valleys and ravines but because of intense agricultural practices and human development...sadly most of these amazing creatures can now only be found in areas where Humans have not yet altered the landscape. The area of this page includes Brown, Blue Earth, Nicollet, and LeSueur county. New Ulm, Mankato and St Peter are the 3 main cities where Human and Reptile contact (and Conflict) may occur!   So let's take a look and see what You might find crawling around in Your back yard. Believe it or not...there are 6 different kinds of Snakes found in this area: Garter Snakes, Fox Snakes, Milk Snakes, Blue Racers, Brown Snakes and Redbelly Snakes. 2 other species: The Bullsnake and Green Snake have been found in the past...but it has been many years since any specimens have been sighted. (ALL are completely harmless)...There is historical evidence that Rattlesnakes once existed in Blue Earth and Nicollet county. However...No specimens have ever been officially documented. Here are some photos of a Timber Rattlesnake I encountered in the Bluff Country of south-eastern Minnesota in 1998.    Now...Compare the photo of the Rattlesnake above to the more common and Harmless Fox Snake below:    You can see the similarities and why Fox Snakes are routinely killed. And it doesn't help much that Fox Snakes vibrate their tails in dry leaves when disturbed. (The sound can be truly frightening!) It's simply a defensive maneuver to let large animals (such as Deer and blundering Humans) know that someone is napping down there in the grass. (Because...Hey...Nobody likes to get stepped on, right?) Bullsnakes, Milksnakes, and young Blue Racers all have the heavily blotched patterns and all vibrate their tails, too. (There are Lots of reasons why people still think there are Rattlesnakes around here!) So...still think you've seen a "Deadly Rattler"? WAIT!!! Before you bash in it's tiny little head, commit a "crime against nature" and become a big hero to your drunken buddies...check out these pics, read the information, and get smart! There is way too much Fear in the world. .....Snakes are Not one of the reasons to be afraid!....      

  Click on the blue links at the top of the page and let's find out what you just saw.

   
   Email:  TeeJay@cccinternet.net 
 Tom Jessen  507-642-8433

 
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