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Poisonous snakes are rare in Connecticut, but you still need to be aware

Timber rattlesnake / canebrake rattlesnake / banded rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), venomous pit viper native to the eastern United States.
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The timber rattlesnake, also known as the canebrake or banded rattlesnake, is a venomous pit viper native to the eastern U.S.

Two dogs in Glastonbury are on the mend after being bit by a timber rattlesnake. The endangered species is one of two venomous snakes in Connecticut. The other is a northern copperhead. Both snakes can be found in a small area of central Connecticut. But the northwest corner is also home to the timber rattlesnake.

State Wildlife Biologist Brian Hess said these snakes are not aggressive, and since they want to avoid human contact, bites are rare. But if you do come across one, he has this advice: “Give it a little bit of space, it’s not going to chase you or go after you, it might turn to face you, something like that. But if you’re going down a path and see a snake, go out around it, give it a little bit of space.”

Hess said it’s important to pay attention to where you place your hands and feet, especially if you are in a rocky area where the snakes are known to live. Also, keep dogs on a leash because they often won’t heed a snake’s warning to leave it alone.

If you live near a habitat where these snakes live, they might come onto your property in search of prey like mice, chipmunks and voles. So Hess said it’s a good idea to get rid of or keep your pets away from woodpiles, stone fences and low-hanging stick vegetation. That’s where the snakes will hang out in search of prey.

Since the timber rattlesnake is an endangered species you are not allowed to kill them. If you find one on your property and you want it to be removed, contact your local animal control.

Jennifer Ahrens is a producer for Morning Edition. She spent 20+ years producing TV shows for CNN and ESPN. She joined Connecticut Public Media because it lets her report on her two passions, nature and animals.

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