Do not Milk The Snake: Wyoming Reptile Skilled Busts Rattler & Different Snake Myths


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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Every day

If you happen to see a rattlesnake this summer time, don’t milk it for venom.  Additionally, watch out when looking rattlesnakes for his or her meat.    

These are the warnings of Zack Walker, Wyoming Sport and Fish non-game supervisor and reptile knowledgeable.     

Walker instructed Cowboy State Every day on Tuesday he’s heard of many Wyomingites consuming rattlesnakes, however hadn’t heard of individuals surviving on them.    

“I do discuss to individuals who say they’ve had them earlier than,” stated Walker, who has not eaten a rattlesnake. “I’ve by no means met any person who eats quite a lot of them, I suppose.”    

Rattlesnakes, which style barely of rooster, will not be legally shielded from being hunted or killed.    

Nonetheless, they’re venomous and typically lethal snakes, with frontal fangs that may simply pierce human flesh.    

Walker stated he hadn’t heard of Wyomingites making an attempt to exploit rattlesnakes for his or her venom, however he advises towards that.    

“I would depart that to the professionals,” he stated. “That makes me a little bit nervous and hopefully individuals don’t try this.”    

Although lethal, rattlesnakes usually will not be aggressive except provoked, which is why most rattlesnake bites happen when individuals attempt to assault or deal with the snakes with out prior coaching, Walker famous.  

For that purpose, he added, snake hunters ought to use warning.    

Eat This, Not That   

If you happen to should eat a rattlesnake, observe that the prairie rattlesnake inhabitants in Wyoming can deal with it higher than the midget light rattlesnake, which is a unique subspecies that, Walker stated, is considerably uncommon.    

“It’s a little bit bit extra of a conservation concern than is the prairie rattlesnake,” stated Walker, specifying once more that he wasn’t encouraging snake-hunting for dinner.    

The midget light rattlesnake in Wyoming is discovered solely within the southwest nook of the state, “type of close to the Flaming Gorge space,” whereas the prairie rattlesnake is widespread.    

Walker, who earned a grasp’s diploma in herpetology and has spent his profession monitoring and finding out reptiles and amphibians, stated he wasn’t certain if he’d eat a rattlesnake as a result of he’s spent a lot time finding out them.    

“I’d really feel a little bit responsible, however I’d.”    

If bit by any type of rattlesnake, take away constricting equipment reminiscent of rings and bracelets, and search medical care instantly. Rattlers can dry chunk, that’s, chunk an individual with out injecting venom, however it’s greatest to not gamble on that risk, stated Walker.   


Rattlesnakes aren’t the one venomous snakes in Wyoming, however they appear prefer it.    

There’s additionally the hog-nosed snake.  

“The hog-nosed snake does have a weak venom, however it’s rear-fanged,” stated Walker. “You normally by no means hear about anyone getting bit by hog-nosed snakes. That’s tough to do.”   

Moreover having a weak, normally non-fatal venom and a mechanical drawback of assault on account of its rear fangs, the hog-nosed snake has sweeter manners.    

“Their temperament is such that they don’t chunk you anyway,” Walker added.    

A Job To Do   

Bull snakes have a job to do.   

These five-foot-long snakes are a typical sight in Wyoming, and could be distinguished from rattlesnakes by their narrower heads and rounder pupils. They don’t seem to be venomous  however could cause ache and bruising in the event that they chunk and latch on throughout an assault.     

Regardless of that, the intelligent bull snake will mimic a rattlesnake when threatened, by shaking its tail in particles to emulate a rattling, and by making a rattling hiss by way of its mouth.    

Bull snakes eat rodents and birds.    

“They’re on the market doing a job. They hold the rodent inhabitants down,” stated Walker. “If individuals are terrified of them they’ll run them off, however (bull snakes) are doing their job.”    

Wyomingites usually will inform each other to maintain bull snakes round, as a result of bull snakes eat rattlesnakes.

“The reality of it’s, they don’t generally eat rattlesnakes,” stated Walker. “One may eat a small rattlesnake, however it’s not sometimes going to exit of its approach to eat one.”   

Walker stated the bull snake is extra prone to shack up with the rattlesnake than eat it.    

“I’ve personally seen bull snakes and rattlesnakes in the identical hibernacula (den),” he stated, including, nevertheless, that the 2 sorts of snakes are too far aside genetically to inter-breed.   

Large Ball of Snakes   

One other Wyoming legend about snakes is that rattlesnakes crossing a lake will knot themselves into an enormous ball, and may trigger main water-skiing accidents in that kind.    

“I’ve by no means seen that, and I wouldn’t count on that to occur, simply by the sheer nature of a rattlesnake,” stated Walker.    

Identical to all snakes, rattlesnakes can swim, however they normally desire to cross lakes and different water our bodies alone.    

The knotted-snake legend might have its origins in info, nevertheless, since garter snakes rising from hibernation collect into an enormous knot collectively to mate.    

A knot of garter snakes within the water may hurt an individual’s boat, stated Walker, however no more than some other clump of particles of equal measurement.    

The Reek   

Water snakes make kids stink on function.    

A remaining commonly-held perception about snakes in Wyoming is that kids catching water snakes may have foul-smelling fingers.   

Not solely is that this perception true, it’s utterly intentional on the a part of the water snake.   

“They produce a musk that comes, mainly out of their cloaca, or their vent, and it’s designed to odor dangerous and dissuade predators,” Walker stated.

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