These Are The 10 Snakes You Cannot Kill in Iowa
If you, like me, are absolutely not a fan of snakes but you live in Iowa, beware that there are a few snake species that will get you fined if you kill it.
According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, there are eight snakes that you cannot legally kill in Iowa, two that are listed as "special concern" (more on that in a sec). They're categorized as endangered, threatened, or special concern.
Endangered is something in danger of extinction. Threatened is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future, according to Iowa DNR. If you kill anything on either of those lists, you could be smacked with paying the state $1,000 per animal you killed.
Two snakes, the bullsnake and the smooth green snake, are special concern. That means they're not protected by Iowa's Threatened and Endangered Species law but they might be subject to protection under other state or federal laws. So probably don't mess with those either.
The Endangered Snakes
Copperbelly Water Snake
Slimy here isn't poisonous. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, they need shallow wetlands to live in and eat mainly frogs.
Western Hognose Snake
Western Hognose Snakes don't bite, but they will play dead if they feel threatened. According to Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, they like to dig in the sand.
I'm from the South, and we have these things everywhere. I hate them. You'll find them in swampy, wooded areas. However, Encyclopedia Britannica says that the venom in copperheads is "relatively weak and rarely fatal".
You know how these critters work. You hear the rattle, you freak out. Nationally, they have the largest range of any snake in the U.S., according to the National Park Service. But in Iowa, you can't kill a prairie rattler. It's endangered.
Another rattler you can't kill if you find one in Iowa is this guy- the Massasauga Rattlesnake. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says it's rare for people to be bitten by one though because they're quite shy.
The Threatened Snakes
Diamondback Water Snake
According to Animalia, this dude isn't poisonous. They're different than the cottonmouth snake, but they can live with them.
Western Worm Snake
This guy isn't venomous either. He likes to hang out on hillsides but they like to burrow under stuff, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. and you'll be able to spot him easily because of his two-toned skin and salmon-colored belly.
If you handle one of these things, it may put out a stinky musk on your hands and try to bite you but the Missouri Dept. of Conservation says they calm down quickly. These are the "good snakes" because they feast on the venomous ones on this list.
Of course, if you're bitten by any of these nightmares, the first thing you need to do is call 911 and get yourself to the ER. But you can't kill it.