The Times Journal & Russell County News
Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
Get online news updates FREE - Subscribe:  [?]
Google

Venomous snakes of Russell County are not a threat if you recognize and avoid them
In July 19 issue, Russell County News
Courtesy lakecumberland.com



ABOVE: A live copperhead snake rests near the feet of audience members during an exhibition and seminar conducted Tuesday night, July 15, at the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery’s Visitor Center and Environmental Education Center. The snake had just struck the boot of presenter Jeff Hohman, a biologist with East Kentucky Power, after he finally annoyed it enough to prompt a bite from the dangerous animal. Copperheads bites aren’t fatal, but a bite from the other venomous  snake that can be found in the region, the timber rattlesnake, can be fatal.

Let’s make one thing clear from the start: there are no poisonous snakes.

No poisonous spiders, either. The word is venomous. Like spiders, snakes inject a chemical venom into their victims.

Knowing the proper term may not ease that tang of caution, however, when there’s a live and somewhat annoyed two-foot copperhead coiled on the floor about a yard from your feet when you are being told this.

Nor does the just-imparted knowledge that no one in Kentucky has ever died from a copperhead bite. The slide show photos of the effects on body of the Lexington man who recently spent a week in the hospital recovering from an injection of venom into his hand makes it pretty certain that you’d rather avoid getting bit.

It is a bit comforting to know just how continuously stupid the Lexington man had to be in order to get bit, however.

Jeff Hohman, a biologist with East Kentucky Power who specializes in Kentucky snakes, was telling the story. He used it to illustrate just how much venomous snakes prefer to not bite.

It seems the man had pulled the snake out from under something in his house, had first stuffed it into a small container, then pulled it from the first and put it into a larger jug. Finally, the copperhead had enough and nipped him in the hand.

Hohman, along with Joe Settles, often tell snake stories as they travel Kentucky to give seminars and classroom demonstrations.

The pair were at the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery’s new Visitor and Environmental Education Center this past Tuesday night, presenting a seminar on venomous snakes in Kentucky, and particularly the Lake Cumberland region.

The room was nearly filled with curious folk, and all of them went home both educated and highly entertained.

Hohman has a presentation style that wouldn’t be out of place on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

His snake tales, and tales of other folks’ snake tales, had everyone constantly giggling or laughing out loud.

It’s a great teaching style. Everyone went home with an expanded knowledge of snakes, and all now can tell a venomous copperhead from a similarly colored non-venomous water snake on sight.

Here are some of the basics. You may or may not already know it, but there are only three venomous snake types in Kentucky. These are the copperhead, the timber rattlesnake and cottonmouth moccasin.

(Okay, there’s really four, but it deserves an asterisk. The pygmy rattlesnake is located only in western Kentucky at Land Between the Lakes. And it is rattlesnake, so it seems okay to consider it along with its big cousin in the rattler category.)

And only two of those venomous snakes are found in the Lake Cumberland area in this part of Kentucky, the copperhead and the rattlesnake.

No matter what people argue and there are a number of people who will argue it there are no native populations of cottonmouth moccasins in this part of the state. Take the word of the experts with 40 years of serious snake experience.

They’re willing to look into it, however. Hohman and Settles enjoy being told about snakes. They don’t deny that some snakes that don’t belong here can’t show up by, say, getting a ride on a delivery truck or maybe even being brought and released or escaping from someone.

Hohman wanted to get one point across. Snakes are good to have around. They control the populations of rodents and other critters than can get out of hand if snakes aren’t there to feed on them.

Snakes won’t chase you either, even the venomous ones. They just want to be left alone. Some snakes, mostly the non-venomous ones, can have bad attitudes and will bite at you if you annoy them by being too close or backing them into a corner.

The venomous ones would rather you never see them, and when you do will try their best to avoid you, and if you still push too hard will give you warnings before they do anything.

Hohman noted that, even though many people have told him tales over the years of being chased by snakes, the reality is the snake is trying to get away.

“It may be that they’re just running in the same direction as you are,” he said, and his audience laughed at the thought.

When it came to live demonstration time, Hohman and Settles unbagged a collection of a dozen or so varities of snakes.

One was the copperhead mentioned above. After putting it on the floor of the room, loose and only a few feet from some folks, Hohman showed how much the snake didn’t want to mess with him.

Putting on boots and he recommends boots when you go for a walk where snakes may be, because that’s where you could get bit if you accidentally step on one hidden in the growth Hohman kept putting his foot all around the copperhead.

Finally, he just about had to step on its head to get it to strike, but it finally bit the boot and left some venom on it.

While they passed the other snakes around the room for folks to handle, hold, or touch, the copperhead remained coiled on the floor, not bothering anyone. It was a demonstration of just how non-aggressive the copperhead is.

The humorous presentation and demonstration appeared to calm the nerves of those edgy about all types of snakes, and by the end nearly everyone had at least touched one of the coily critters, with many holding and handling them.

A very good web site on recognizing varities of Kentucky snakes can be found on the aptly named internet web site located at http://kentuckysnakes.org
Content Management Powered by CuteNews
SUBSCRIBE to The Times Journal: CLICK HERE

SPONSORED LINKS


Publish Yourself PUBLISH YOURSELF
You can publish news about your group or organization directly to our site, using your computer.
CLICK HERE
Laker Band LAKER BAND
Visit the award-winning official web site for the Russell County Marching Band.
CLICK HERE
Lake Cumberland Web Cams LIVE WEB CAMS
Views of Lake Cumberland as it is right now, from a number of web cams.
CLICK HERE
Lake Cumberland LAKE CUMBERLAND
lakecumberland.com
Official site for Lake Cumberland with everything for the lake visitor and fisherman.
CLICK HERE
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
-
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Phone: 270-866-3191
Fax: 270-866-3198
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
-
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629
Phone: 270-343-5700
Publisher:
David Davenport
(publisher@tjrcn.com)
Managing Editor:
Greg Wells
(editor@tjrcn.com)
News & Sports Editor:
Derek Aaron
(sports@tjrcn.com)
Advertising Manager:
Stephanie Smith
(ads@tjrcn.com)
Business Manager:
Kim Haydon
(business@tjrcn.com)
Production Manager:
Renee Daffron
(people@tjrcn.com)
Jamestown Office:
Kim Graham
(rcnoffice@tjrcn.com)
PUBLIC MEETINGS
Members of the public may attend meetings. Boards or agencies may schedule other meetings at special times, but are required to notify the public.
FISCAL COURT: 2nd Monday of month, 6 p.m. in the Courthouse
RUSSELL SPRINGS CITY: 2nd Thursday of month, 6 p.m. in the City Hall Municipal Room
JAMESTOWN CITY: 3rd Thursday of month, 6 p.m. in basement meeting room at City Hall
SCHOOL BOARD: 3rd Monday of month, 6:30 p.m., Board of Education office in Jamestown
LIBRARY BOARD: 2nd Tuesday of month, 5 p.m. at Jamestown Library
AIRPORT BOARD: 1st Tuesday of month, 5 p.m. at Airport
TOURISM COMMISSION: 2nd Wednesday of month, 12:30 p.m. at Tourism Office
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: 3rd Tuesday of month, noon at The Cove restaurant
LOCAL & AREA
NEWS SITES
The links below open new windows. We are not responsible for the content of the sites.
Laker Country WJRS
(Russell Springs)
lakercountry.com/
WKYM-1017 (Monticello)
wkym.com/
Adair Progress (Columbia)
adairprogress.com/
Casey County News (Liberty)
caseynews.net/
Clinton County News (Albany)
clintonnews.net/
Cumberland County News (Burkesville)
burkesville.com/ccn/
Wayne County Outlook (Monticello)
wcoutlook.com/
Somerset
Commonwealth-Journal
somerset-kentucky.com/
Danville
Advocate-Messenger
amnews.com/
Lexington Herald-Leader
kentucky.com/
Louisville Courier-Journal
courier-journal.com/
WKYT-TV, Lexington
wkyt.com/
WBKO-TV, Bowling Green
wbko.com/
USEFUL SITES
The links below open new windows. We are not responsible for the content of the sites.

RUSSELL CO. OFFICIALS
RUSSELL COUNTY SCHOOLS
RUSSELL CO. LIBRARY

LAKE CUMBERLAND
STATE RESORT PARK
TV LISTINGS:
Choose your service and provider
SOMERSET MOVIE SHOWTIMES

.