Photo of snake at Indy park causes concern, experts weigh in
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A picture of a snake wrapped around a dock at a central Indiana park is creating worries among frequent hikers, but experts say the animal does not pose a threat to families.
They are urging the public to know what to look for, in case they do encounter a dangerous snake.
The photo was posted on the Eagle Creek Sailing Club Facebook page. Dozens of comments show concerns over the animal being a copperhead snake, which is venomous.
DNR officials say the snake in the picture is actually a water snake.
“You are much more likely to encounter any host of non-venomous snakes,” said Scott McDaniel, DNR Conservation officer. “They will bite but it’s not going to harm you.”
These animals become more visible during this time of the year, according to McDaniel.
“It won’t be uncommon at all to have interactions with snakes out here around the water or your wooded areas, even in suburbia,” McDaniel said.
He said venomous snakes have several key features.
“You need to look for elliptical pupils, flared nostrils because they use heat to track their prey and you’re also going to look for a triangular head as opposed to an oval head,” McDaniel said. “Just going by coloration or banding is not an accurate way to identify it.”
In Indiana, there are four kinds of venomous snakes – Copperhead, Massasauga Rattlesnake, Timber Rattlesnake and the Water Moccasin. The Copperhead is the most common and is typically found south of Indianapolis.
McDaniel suggests wearing long pants if you got out hiking. He also said you should be careful where you step if a trail includes logs or rocks on the ground, where snakes could be lurking.
Just last year, a man was bitten by a Copperhead snake in Brown County.