Injured or orphaned snakes

Seventeen species of snakes live in Minnesota, including two varieties of rattlesnake. Our largest native snake, the bull snake, attains a length of approximately five to six feet. Snakes have a varied diet that consists of insects, earthworms, frogs, small mammals, birds, and eggs. These species live in a variety of different habitats including forests, wetlands, and prairies.

Most native Minnesota snakes are not venomous. Only two of the Minnesota varieties are venomous, the Massasauga and the Timber rattlesnake. They are rare, occur only in the southeastern counties of Minnesota, and are protected under state regulations. Both species of venomous snake are dangerous, but their bites are rarely fatal. No one has died from a venomous snakebite in Minnesota for over 100 years. If seen, these snakes should be left alone. An uninjured snake does not need to be moved from your yard. In fact, the presence of snakes may help to decrease the rodent population.

If a snake is in a dangerous location or if you need to remove a snake from a building, take precautions to protect yourself. Wear long pants, shoes, and gloves. Place a box or container over the snake. Slowly slide a piece of cardboard under the container so you do not injure the snake. With the snake trapped inside the box, and you are able to lift up the bottom piece of cardboard and carry the entire package safely outside. Carry your container away from the building, set it down, and gently tip the box over and release the snake.

With the snake released, try and locate the entrance to repair it. Look for foundation cracks, rotting floorboards, open doors, and holes where the snake may have been able to enter the building.

If the snake you have found is injured, contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

It is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet. These animals should always be returned to the original location where they were found.

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.