But did you know that snakes have an international day of recognition dedicated to them?
The origins of World Snake Day are unknown, but it was created to celebrate these misunderstood animals and the vital role they play in ecosystems around the world. Today we wanted to recognize World Snake Day by providing more information about them from around the web and share other ways they can be appreciated.
As a warmup, here’s a small collection of our favorite OHC blogs about snakes!
If you’re itching to hit the trails and perhaps see some of our beautiful native Ohio snakes in their natural habitat, there’s a chance you could see some at any of OHC’s historic sites; but for the best chance and some great hikes and other wildlife sightings besides, OHC’s premiere nature preserves and ancient Native American earthworks are well worth the trip.
Cedar Bog Nature Preserve
Often called the “crown jewel” of Ohio, Cedar Bog is actually a fen and 40% of Ohio’s rare plant and animal species can be seen here. Everything in the Preserve is protected. Please stay on the boardwalk, do not disturb or handle any plants or wildlife, and take only photographs.
A small but beautiful nature preserve, Davis Memorial features a 2 mile hiking trail highlighting a dolomite cliff formation and rare ice age relic plant species, and gorgeous wildlflowers.
Fort Hill Earthworks & Nature Preserve
Fort Hill has over 11 miles of hiking trails on a 1300 acre preserve containing some of Ohio’s oldest old growth trees, so you’re sure to have a memorable experience at this beautiful preserve in all seasons! Fort Hill is one of the best-preserved examples of an ancient hilltop enclosure, built by Native Americans about 2,000 years ago.
A boldly patterned young Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) resting on leaf litter. Photo by Curator Emeritus Bob Glotzhober.
Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve
Fort Ancient is a hilltop enclosure similar to Fort Hill, and was built by ancient Native Americans roughly 1000 years later. The site features several short hiking trails in mature hardwood forest and a museum. Fort Ancient was Ohio’s first state park and is a National Historic Landmark, and alongside two other earthwork groups in Ohio, is up for World Heritage nomination (learn more about World Heritage Ohio here).
Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries & Nature Preserve
While you may not immediately think of “nature” and “quarry” in the same thought, Flint Ridge may change your thinking. This site features an ancient flint quarry along a ridgetop that is home to a mature hardwood forest and all of its denizens, and includes a short hiking trail and interpretive signage. The flint from this site was quarried by ancient Native Americans for centuries and has been found throughout North America due to the vast trading network they maintained prior to European colonization.
Possibly one of the world’s most well-known Native American effigy mounds, Serpent Mound is also home to plenty of snakes! Harmless and beneficial Gray Ratsnakes (Pantherphis spiloides) are often seen here along the creekside trail, basking on the blacktop, and climbing on buildings.
Wahkeena Nature Preserve
Beautiful 150-acre Wahkeena Nature Preserve is only a 40 minute drive from Columbus in Fairfield County and features several miles of hiking trails and a staggering number of orchid, fern, and bird species – as well as snakes and salamanders! Wahkeena was a gift from Dr. Frank Warner of Columbus to his bride, Carmen Hambleton, in 1931 and was originally farm land. The couple planted over 100,000 trees, and in 1956 upon Carmen’s death, the preserve was bequeathed to OHC that it may continue “to be used for nature study and as a preserve for birds and other wildlife.“ Wahkeena also has a nature center with education animals, so you may have the opportunity to see a rat snake up close!
If you’re worried about encountering snakes while visiting OHC’s sites, Advocates For Snake Preservation has a “Snake Country Travel Guide” filled with helpful tips about how to look out for snakes while enjoying the outdoors, and a cute video for kids showing what NOT to do when you find a snake in the wild (and what you SHOULD do instead!). If you’re worried about finding snakes in or near your home, their “Snake Country Survival Guide” is not to be missed!
If you are lucky enough to find snakes or other cool reptiles and amphibians at one of our sites, consider contributing to science by recording your observations with HerpMapper or iNaturalist. As a bonus, iNaturalist can be used to keep track of other kinds of animal species as well as plants and fungi! Both are available as apps for Android and Apple mobile devices.
For more snake fun, join Dr. Emily Taylor to learn more about (and even participate in!) an ongoing research project on Prairie Rattlesnake maternal behavior in Colorado: