Friday, October 31, 2008

Rattle snakes in Minnesota? Yup.

Because of serious decline in this species, the timber rattlesnake is listed
as a Threatened species in Minnesota.

This is a large, venomous Minnesota species that is very heavy bodied and
measures from 36 to 60 inches in length. Timber rattlesnakes have a diamond shaped head
which is set off from their relatively thin neck. The pupils of the eyes are elliptical in bright light and there is a heat-sensitive pit between the eye and nostral on both sides of the head.
Ground color may be variable, but a banded pattern is almost always present. Ground color may be yellow, with or without a rusty orange stripe down the center of the back, or gray or brown. There are black bands (not spots) that run across the back for the entire length of the snake.

This species is found throughout most of the southeastern United States and ranges northward from Iowa into Minnesota and Wisconsin via a narrow band along the Mississippi River. In Minnesota, they are recorded from eight southeastern counties, but only six of these may hold breeding populations at this time .

Timber rattlesnakes live in the same habitat as milk snakes and prairie ringneck snakes in Minnesota, steep bluffs with rocky outcroppings. These snakes favor south and southwest sides of the bluffs and spend most of their time in the sunny open areas surrounded by forest. They hibernate in dens that travel into the sides of the bluff. They hibernate communally with other timber rattlesnakes.

This information was paraphrased by me from the Minnesota Herpetology website. Sounds like Barnes Bluff might be a suitable habitat for rattlers and Jenna Chimney, a dandy place to winter with your friends. I can feel myself getting ready to hibernate myself, somebody, please yank me out of the den if you think this has happened to me. Hey! reader in Denver! Leave a comment and let us know who you are!


Nora said...

Many years ago there was a bounty on Rattlers. When I lived in Pepin WI the old timers told me there were some bluffs down around the Chippewa that had lots of dens. In the winter they would take dynamite and blow the dens and then just pick up the rattlers. The baby's paid as good as the adults. Heck of a way to get your beer money!

kennydee said...

What! You mean me? That was wierd. I'm reading and I get "Hey, reader in Denver..." This cannot be real-time--can it? Must be some kind of co-in-see-dense or some kind of script deal that plugs the current readers name in at the end of the article. Yup, that's what its gotta be. I ain't no fool. But maybe a little techno-behind.

But, thing is, I started with "rock-climbing", then "rock-climbing for old people" then the Brooks piece on "(super) self-esteem vs modesty" came up which of course brings me to some in-tree-ging Minnesota blog, Minnesota being both the modesty heartland and wellspring of very special people.

I know this because I are one. Minnesotan, Special, Modest. Born and raised in Lake Wobegon (the home of Spring Grove soda pop-- talk about special!) I am concerned with the endemic phenomenon of "kid" obsession, that is; parents who sell out their lives to their children. This is ostensibly fueled with the good intention of being a better parent than theirs was but becomes a blind obsession which effectively truncates their adult life and creates a generation of kids that think they are special but are not.

Of course this is no better told than in Jonathan Franzen's St. Paul saga, 'Freedom'. I find it tragic and frustrating, but then remember and affirm always the credo of a truly special Minnesotan, Stuart Smalley who said, "Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me."