DEEP: Snakes suffer from fear, misunderstanding

Snake encounters can be alarming, especially if you don't understand how harmless they are, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Wednesday in a news release.

Snakes become more active this time of year, the release said, just as people are beginning to venture outdoors.

"There is no need to fear or hate these reptiles," Rick Jacobson, director of the DEEP Wildlife Division, said. "If you leave snakes alone, they will leave you alone."

Hundreds of snakes are needlessly killed each year because of fear and misunderstanding, DEEP said. State residents are unlikely to encounter a dangerous snake. The two venomous snake species found in Connecticut, the timber rattlesnake and northern copperhead, are rare. These, along with the other 12 Connecticut snake species, are not aggressive and will bite only if threatened or handled, DEEP said.

There is no reason to kill a snake, the agency said. Instead, it should be observed from a distance and allowed it to go on its way. All snakes will retreat from humans if given a chance. To discourage snakes, cut grass short, remove brush and rock piles, and trim shrubs up off the ground, DEEP said.

For information, visit the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife.

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