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Ag Extension agency offers tips to avoid snakes

May 10, 2022 at 8:12 a.m.

The University of Arkansas Ag Extension Agency has issued the following press with tips to avoid snakes.

According to psychologists and animal behaviorists, the fear of snakes is a learned behavior. Statistically, however, deaths from venomous snakebites are rare.

Venomous native snakes present in Arkansas are the: eastern copperhead, northern cottonmouth, western diamond-backed rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, western pigmy rattlesnake, and the Texas gulfcoast coralsnake.

Some tips on avoiding snakes:

•Walk on paths with clear visibility and little ground cover where snakes may be easily seen. If at night, use a light source to brighten your path.

•Never step over logs or other obstacles unless you can see the other side.

•Watch where you put your hands. Don't put fingers under debris you intend to move. Flip with a wooden pole to make sure a snake isn't hidden underneath.

•Make noise and be wary, particularly of where your foot is about to step.

•Carry a walking stick to clear away leaves, make noise, flip objects, and keep balance when peeking over logs or other obstacles before crossing.

•Wear close-toed shoes or boots. Many snakebites result when walking barefoot or wearing sandals around the yard.

•Pattern your outdoor activity to avoid snakes. Snakes are ectothermic or "cold-blooded," which means their body temperature is similar to their surroundings. Most snakes prefer to maintain body heat at about 86 degrees F, though they are active in temperatures ranging from 50 to 104 degrees F. Snakes seek particular locations to regulate their body temperature.

•In the heat of the summer, snakes are more active at night and seek cooler areas for daytime retreat. When walking at night in the summer months, use a flashlight.

•In the late fall and early spring, snakes seek rocks or patches of sunlight to bask and heat their bodies. They tend to be more active during daylight hours. Be snake alert when walking through rocky areas or leaf litter, which can camouflage a snake. If you encounter a snake, step back and allow it to pass. Snakes usually don't move fast, and you can retreat from the snake's path.

For more info on Arkansas native snakes, visit


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