PORTLAND, Ore. - Snakes are scary creatures, right?
They slither, they rattle and then there are those fangs.
But are they getting a bad rap?
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife thinks they are and they're hoping a little information will help clear up some of the misconceptions folks have about snakes.
For example, did you know that there are 15 species of snakes in Oregon and only one of them, the Western Rattlesnake, is poisonous to humans? That means there are a lot of snakes out there that can't hurt you.
"Last year, I got 30 calls to remove snakes and I didn't have to remove any because I spent the time talking to folks, explaining snake behavior and their benefits," Wildlife Biologist Chris Rombough stated in one of the ODFW's newsletters. "One-to-one education is important. There is just too much general killing of snakes for no reason."
ODFW has also published two new fact sheets - Living with Snakes and Snake Facts for Kids - that gives folks a lot of information about Oregon's snakes. They include some of these interesting tid-bits:
- Garter snakes were named for their resemblance to the design on garters that men once wore to hold up their socks.
- Oregon does have a native boa - the Rubber Boa. It's part of the boa constrictor and anaconda family, but is much smaller.
- Vehicles account for more snake deaths than any other cause because the snakes are drawn to warm pavement to sun themselves.
- Snakes flick their tongues to 'smell' the air. They are trying to sense danger or locate prey.
- Rattlesnakes are born with multiple sets of fangs that are shed and replaced approximately every two months.