"There was a snake in my yard and it rattled at me, so I killed it."
We have heard this same story quite frequently so far this spring. Chances of there being a rattlesnake in your backyard in NW Ohio are very slim, but there are some impostors out there that look and act similar to rattlesnakes.
EASTERN FOX SNAKES have been very active with the warm temperatures and are frequent visitors at the refuge and in backyards throughout the area. They will coil and vibrate their tails like a copperhead when threatened, but are nonvenomous and harmless to humans. They are a misunderstood snake with a similar pattern and coloring to their venomous cousins.
Fox snakes tend to be a docile species when left alone. You may remember that Ottawa NWR had an eastern fox snake for years as an education animal as he was not able to be released back to the wild. They are a species of concern in Ohio and listed as threatened in other states due to habitat loss and mistaken identity.
A gorgeous fox snake was spotted just off of the patio at the Ottawa NWR Visitor Center today and showed off to a small crowd by climbing on the rocks, drinking from puddles, and demonstrating its fine camouflage in the rock garden. Next time you see a snake, we ask that you admire it from a distance, and take a few pictures to share! From winged to furry to scaled, we love all critters here at Ottawa.