A rarely seen massasauga rattlesnake was captured in North Central Ohio last month during the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

 The venomous snake was found as Ohio Division of Wildlife staff researchers and volunteers participated in an annual snake survey.

Huron County Wildlife Officer Matthew D. Smith located the rattlesnake captured for measurements and then released.

Most snakes are beneficial in helping to control destructive insects and rodents. Only three species of snakes in Ohio - the copperhead and the massasauga and timber rattlesnakes - are venomous. None of these snakes are common according to ODNR.

Problems with snakes range from occasional encounters with a single snake to infestations of large numbers of snakes in basements and out-building foundations.

 A snake that takes up residence where it cannot be tolerated should be captured and released at least a mile away from the dwelling.

You can make an area less attractive to snakes by:

  • Controlling insect and rodent populations
  • Removing piles of junk, rocks, brush and boards
  • Keeping grass mowed and landscapes clean.

To remove a snake already in a building, you must first find it. If a snake is difficult to find in the open, place a damp cloth or burlap bag covered with a board or shingle on the basement floor. Use a 1/2- to 1-inch spacer to elevate the board so the snake can easily get under it. The combination of dampness and shelter is attractive to snakes, making them easier to capture.

Snakes can be picked up with a hook or hoe, or by making a noose with a loose slipknot in a strong piece of string and attaching it to a short, strong stick. Lower the snake into a strong paper or cloth bag with no holes.

If you use the string, clip the noose with a pair of scissors before dropping the snake in the bag. Transport the snake as soon as possible to a woodlot or undeveloped area away from other houses.