Hikers reminded to use caution around water during drought conditions

Local News

NITRO, W.Va. (WOWK) — If you enjoy the outdoors chances are you have seen a snake or two. But with very little rain in the area, you may see more snakes and other wildlife going near the water. With a reported rattlesnake bite recently on a trail at Kanawha State Forest outdoor enthusiasts are on the lookout for snakes along their path.

This week Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt said someone spotted a large Black snake near Ridenour Lake. “Some hikers were coming down through here and saw a black snake crossing the trail,” he said.

He came to check it out first hand and let his social media followers know what he found. “I came out and the next morning the snake was laying here on this pile,” he said, pointing to some brush near a trail around the dog park.

A West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Biologist said in drought conditions most wildlife, not just snakes, will gravitate toward water sources.

“That is going to be not just around the Nitro lake that is going to be a lake anywhere,” Casebolt said. “These snakes are going to start moving a little closer to them.”

Black snakes like most snakes in West Virginia aren’t venomous. But it is still a good idea to pay attention if you are out on the trails.

“What we are doing is just advising people when they are out walking just be a little extra cautious,” Casebolt said. “We are not infested with snakes but with this dry weather you could run into some moving down toward the water.” DNR biologists say if you encounter a Black snake they are harmless and don’t want anything to do with people. It is best to just move on and keep your distance. According to the DNR there are only two venemous snakes in West Virginia, the Timber Rattlesnake and the Copperhead. But biologists say even though they are venemous they generally don’t have any intention to harm people as long they are left alone.

To learn more about snakes in West Virginia click here and here.

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