The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

The Buzz

Now is a Great Time to See Snakes in the Preserves

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

If you like limbless reptiles, you're going to love the next few weeks. But if you're the type of person who runs the other way at the sight of a snake, you'll want to plan accordingly, perhaps even taking an entirely different trail.

That's because cooler fall temperatures bring these beauties out in full force as the snake population in the preserves — such as garter, fox and brown snakes — is actively seeking out sunlight to help stay warm.

"People notice them more now because they are basking," said Glen Buckner, the Forest Preserve’s wildlife biologist.

And some trail users, such as Homer Glen resident Sharon Kareiva, are basking in the joy of seeing them. She hit the jackpot earlier this week during a hike along Centennial Trail and posted dozens of photos to the District's Will County Wildlife Facebook group.

"It was sunny and warm and I knew they were going to be out," Kareiva said. "I always try to look. As soon as I see one snake, what normally would be a one-hour walk becomes a three-hour walk, because I walk so slowly looking for them."

In one walk last year, she spotted 47 snakes, in what Kareiva described as an "amazing day." While she loves seeing the snakes, she said she has a healthy respect for them.

"When they don't look happy, I don't get too close."


On Tuesday, we also were treated to one snake after another during an excursion along Centennial Trail. It was an impressive collection, and this Flickr gallery proves it.

So why is this location our own miniature version of Snake Road at Shawnee National Forest in downstate Heron?

Due to the Asian carp barrier wall, there is limited egress from one side to the other. Centennial Trail's pavement also provides the warmth the snakes are looking for.

"Snakes aren't crazy about crushed limestone," Buckner said. "They don't like the texture and it doesn't stay warm."

So, your chances of seeing snakes are much better at a place like Centennial Trail than the Wauponsee Glacial Trail or Spring Creek Greenway Trail.

According to Buckner, the Hickory Creek Bikeway also is a fairly prime spot for spotting snakes, particularly fox snakes. 

If you're traveling by bike, just be sure to slow your roll and yield to the snakes.


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to our digital newsletter, The Citizen. Signing up is easy, free of charge and provides subscribers with weekly updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family.

Could A Vaccine Save Bats From White-Nose Syndrome? A New Study Shows Promise


Researchers have developed a vaccine that could prevent bat deaths from white-nose syndrome, an illness decimating bat populations in much of the United States.

Read More

The Plight of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee


The rusty patched bumble bee is the first bee in the continental United States to be listed as endangered. Here's why that's important.

Read More

What Are 'Zombie Raccoons'? Should I Be Concerned?


The 'zombie raccoons' making headlines lately are sick with distemper, and while humans aren't affected by the illness, dogs can be. 

Read More

The Citizen Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates