Snakes! (part one)

The cry goes out through the park or a call comes into the office: Snake!

A shiver goes up the spine of most of the people who hear it (including the boss).

The chances the snake is not dangerous would be about 99.99 percent. We have no poisonous snakes native to Hancock County. The key word here is native.

Let’s start with a few fun facts about snakes. Snakes don’t have ears; they feel the vibrations through the lower bone in their jaw.

Snakes taste with their tongue and a special structure in the roof of their mouths.

Snakes have six rows of teeth and out of the 2,100 species in the world, the U.S. has 115, and Indiana has 31.

Let’s look a few that you might find either in your own backyard or one of our parks.

There is really nothing to fear from the occasional snake whose path you might cross. Just give them space. They are just as scared as you are. In the future, we’ll cover those you don’t want to meet (and who fortunately don’t live around here).

Joe Whitfield is a naturalist and gardener for the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department.