A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Snakes are common across rural Kentucky, and play beneficial role in nature

Snakes are common across rural Kentucky, and play a beneficial role in nature. Warming temperatures bring snakes out of hibernation, usually by mid-to-late April. “When they first emerge, snakes are covered with soil and silt,” said John MacGregor, herpetologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). “They shed their skin within a week or two.” A telltale sign that...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: The Black Rat Snake, common across Kentucky, helps control rodents

The Black Rat Snake, genus Elaphe, species obsoleta, but also referred to by some taxonomists as Pantherophis alleghaniensis, is one of Kentucky’s largest snakes. An article posted on the Live Science website explained the scientific name differences. Until the early 2000s, both Old and New World rat snakes were generally thought to belong to the same genus, Elaphe, according to Alan Savitzky,...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: All fear aside,
snakes play a beneficial role in nature

The black racer, a non-venomous snake commonly found in Kentucky, is ‘probably the most beneficial,’ says John MacGregor, herpetologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. (Photo courtesy of Bing Images)   Throughout the ages, snakes have been mercilessly persecuted. But, collectively, they are very unusual animals that play a beneficial role in nature.   “We...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: All fear aside, snakes play a beneficial role in nature

The black racer, a non-venomous snake commonly found in Kentucky, is ‘probably the most beneficial,’ says John MacGregor, herpetologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. (Photo courtesy of Bing Images)   Throughout the ages, snakes have been mercilessly persecuted. But, collectively, they are very unusual animals that play a beneficial role in nature.   “We...