I'm sitting in my office with the window open. There's a nice breeze and the sun is shining. It's a beautiful day. Spring is upon us.

Now, to be very precise, I am writing this on March 19th, so TOMORROW is the vernal equinox and spring will officially begin.

And that means we'll be seeing more and more creatures lurking about that we didn't see during the cold winter months. And I'm looking at you, snakes.

Yes, I realize that it is not outside the realm of possibilities to see a snake, not only in the winter, but actually slithering on the SNOW. (No fair, serpents, no fair)

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But the warmer weather will bring the cold-blooded reptiles into fuller view and when you VIEW them, maybe you won't know exactly what they are. Is it venomous? Is it non-venomous? I don't like snakes and avoid them at all costs, so I'm not very good at identifying them.

Boy, I miss Joe Ford.

Anyway, the University of Kentucky has a convenient guide that will tell you everything you need to know about that snake you just saw in your yard, your garden...God forbid, in your HOUSE.

The site features several categories with dropdown menus so that you can enter as much information as possible. For example, you can tell the site about the shape of its head (rounded or triangular), the shape of its pupils (vertical or non-vertical--IF you get that close), and body shape (stocky, moderate, slender).

Does it have a facial pit? What are the patterns on its back and belly? What are the colors on its back and belly?

Geez, you're getting awfully close to these snakes, aren't you?

But seriously, I think this is fascinating. I also hope I never have to use it.

I look at the images of all these snakes and, to me, they ALL look harmful. But the majority of those indigenous to Kentucky are not.

The common garter snake, for example, is incredibly beautiful. For some, that would mean run for the hills. But even I know garter snakes are harmless.

Check out the site and keep it handy. The warm weather fast approaches. And those that slither will soon be far more visible.

Lord, I hated writing that sentence.

Snakes in Kentucky

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