Just as it is important to look both ways before crossing a busy street, when you live in the bluffs of Southeast Minnesota it is important to know rattlesnake safety and what to do if an issue arises. The Rattlesnake Jubilee is an event designed to increase education and decrease fear around snakes, especially timber rattlesnakes.
For instance, did you know that only one person every five to six years dies from a timber rattlesnake bite in the United States, while dogs kill roughly 20-30 people per year and lightning kills an average of 49 people per year in the U.S.?
Dr. Dan Keyler, an international expert in venomous snakebites and rattlesnake researcher, will be the featured speaker. He will discuss the life history and habitat of timber rattlesnakes as well as what to do if you are bitten. Local resident Marty Ambuehl will share his story of what it was like to be bitten by a rattlesnake several years ago.
Stephen Winter will give a presentation about the volunteer rattlesnake responder program in the region, so you know you have someone to call if a rattlesnake shows up in a location that poses a safety concern, and Jim Gerholdt will be giving two live snake presentations, so you can learn to identify timber rattlesnakes as well as the local non-venomous snakes.
Pre-registration is required for a very special field trip to view wild rattlesnakes on private property with Minnesota DNR personnel and other experts. Throw in people selling books, snake-themed cookies and snacks, T-shirts and free snake crafts for kids, and it will make for a very fun and educational event for all ages.
The Rattlesnake Jubilee will be on Saturday, September 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Houston Community Center. The cost to attend the event is $7 for adults, $4 for ages four to 15, and is free for children ages three and under and members of the Friends of the Houston Nature Center. The field trip by bus is $15 per person if registered by September 7 ($20 after that date) and is limited to only 20 participants.
For more information or to register for the field trip, visit www.houstonnaturecenter.com. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Houston Nature Center and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.