In Will County, no precautions need to be taken to stay safe from snakes because no venomous snakes live in our area, Buckner said. Only four snakes found in Illinois are venomous – the copperhead, cottonmouth, massasauga and timber rattlesnake, IDNR reports. None of these live in Will County or even in northern Illinois.
In fact, of the more than 3,000 snake species in the world, only 600 are venomous, and only a third of those – 7 percent of all the snake species in the world – are dangerous enough to kill or seriously harm humans, according to National Geographic.
People often think snakes they see in the water are dangerous water moccasins, Buckner said, but it’s simply not true. While cottonmouth snakes, a type of water moccasin, do live in Illinois, they inhabit only the swamp and wetlands of the southern portion of the state, according to IDNR. What people are most likely confusing for a water moccasin is a northern water snake, which is not a threat to humans.
Most snakes we see in the preserves are not aggressive and will avoid humans, Buckner said. A few, including the fox snake and the northern water snake, can become aggressive if provoked, even unintentionally, but still pose no risk to humans.
“Neither one can hurt you,” he said.
The Benefit of Snakes