Share This Page

Rattlesnakes seen near Connellsville schools

| Friday, July 12, 2013, 6:57 p.m.
Submitted
Rattlesnakes have been spotted near Connellsville senior and junior high schools.

Just a few miles from Connellsville High School and Connellsville Junior High, rattlesnakes have been spotted both this summer and last summer.

While Sgt. Tom Crise of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission could not confirm there are venomous timber rattlesnakes in the area, he said it could be possible a few are here and may have made their way down from the nearby mountainous area.

Connellsville resident Kolby Wagner said he saw his first rattlesnake last July while visiting a residence near McCoy Hollow Road just outside the city limits.

“I was there helping (the resident) with some work, and with all of his wood piles, I said he probably sees a lot of snakes,” Wagner recalled. “He said, ‘Not really,' but just a few minutes after that, he turned around and said, ‘Hey, look over there.' ”

Wagner said when he looked, there was a snake with a fluorescent yellow color just about 20 feet into the woods from the resident's yard.

“It stuck out like a sore thumb,” he said, adding that they could tell right away it was a rattlesnake. “Once I saw it, I went the other way.”

Last month, another resident, who declined to be identified, said he was doing some work in the woods near the Connellsville Township Municipal Building. The person for whom he was working told him to be careful because rattlesnakes had been seen in the area.

He said he worked the entire time without seeing a rattlesnake, but when he was leaving, he saw one stretched across McCoy Hollow Road.

While it was moving around a little, the snake looked like it had been injured, possibly by being run over by a vehicle, he said.

According to the commission's website, timber rattlesnakes inhabit the mountainous regions of the state, preferring the upland forested areas where there are lots of small mammals, like mice and chipmunks, on which to feed.

The rattlers are attracted to rocky ledges and outcrops because they like to bask in the sun, especially after eating; the sun provides energy for them to digest their food.

The website noted that timber rattlesnakes emerge from their dens in mid-April to late April and they remain active through October.

In Pennsylvania, the timber rattlesnake is listed as a candidate species, which means it could achieve threatened or endangered status.

The website noted that if left unprovoked, the timber rattlesnake is actually one of Pennsylvania's more timid and docile snake species, striking only when cornered or threatened.

Crise said that if an individual comes in contact with a rattlesnake, they should not try to harm it since they are protected.

As far as safety precautions for hikers or those walking through the woods, he said individuals should use common sense, wearing long pants and close-toed shoes.

“Be observant, know their habitat and be aware of where you're putting down your hands or feet,” Crise said.

Finally, if you see a rattler, the best thing to do is walk away.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.