Did You Know?

  • Most Colorado snakes are non-venomous, harmless and beneficial to people.
  • Non-venomous and venomous species can be easily distinguished from each other.
  • Of the 25 species of snakes in Colorado, the western rattlesnake and the massasauga are the only venomous species.
  • Snakes are ectothermic (they rely on external sources to control their body temperature).
  • Contrary to its reputation of being slimy, snake skin is actually smooth and dry and will often be shed more than once each year.
  • Most snakes prey predominantly on rodents. They in turn are prey for eagles, hawks and humans.
  • The most useful snakebite first aid kit is car keys and a cell phone.

Six Basic Ways to Distinguish Venomous Snakes from Non-Venomous Snakes:

  1. Broad triangular head and narrow neck.
  2. Rattles at the end of the tail.
  3. Fangs in addition to their rows of teeth.
  4. Facial pits between the nostrils and eyes.
  5. Vertical and elliptical pupils versus round pupils.
  6. A single row of scales between the vent and the tip of the tail versus two rows of scales.

Tips for coexisting with snakes:

  • Effective snake control begins with prevention.
  • Eliminate cool, damp areas where snakes hide including brush and rock piles.
  • Keep shrubbery away from foundations and cut tall grass.
  • Control rodent populations to force snakes to seek areas with a larger food supply.
  • Seal all openings ¼ inch or larger around foundations, windows, water pipes, etc.
  • The best safety measure is to be prepared for a possible snake encounter.
  • Rattlesnakes are generally nonaggressive toward people unless they are startled, cornered or stepped on.