Some people were a bit surprised about the fact that Illinois does indeed have poisonous snakes. Last week you might recall the story about the young lab in northern Illinois which was bitten by a Massasauga rattlesnake. “Rattlesnakes in Illinois,” some said. Well, if that surprises you, then I have some more news. Illinois actually has four poisonous snakes. Along with the Massasauqa rattlesnake are the water moccasin, the copperhead, and the timber rattlesnake.
For those who fear snakes, I would not get too worried. Even though these snakes can be found in Illinois, their numbers are relatively small.
If you want to see any of these snakes, then your best bet is to head to southern Illinois, as this is about the only place that the cottonmouth and the copperhead can be found. If you are looking for a timber rattler, then you better head to some pretty wild, undisturbed areas that border the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The Massasauga is probably the most widely distributed poisonous snake in the state. And by this, I only mean very small pockets of ideal habitat, which will be marshy. Knox County is said to have a small population of this snake.
All of these snakes are considered uncommon or rare in Illinois. As I said earlier, most sightings of these snakes are actually some other species. For example, some time back I was with an individual who spotted a snake swimming in the water. His first response was “look at that water moccasin.” Well, it wasn’t a water moccasin at all and didn’t even resemble one. But it was a snake in the water, therefore. …
Illinois has 39 species of snakes, with just these four being the only ones which could administer a lethal bite. But fear not, chances are slim that a timber rattler is making its home underneath the outhouse.
– Bird numbers are starting to pick up in the county. I spotted a short-eared owl at Double T about mid-week. A small flock of cedar waxwings paid a visit to the backyard as well. More shore and wading birds are making their way to the marshy areas. Still a few snow and blue geese present.
– Wild flowers are blooming. Trilliums and may apples, along with spring peepers are growing strong. And with that growth comes the weeds and other grasses. Mushrooming could be a bit rough.
From Canton Daily Ledger