Planning on spending a little time in the beautiful bluffs around Winona anytime soon?
Well, be on the lookout for rattlesnakes – the slithering serpents are stirring up distress in the southeastern Minnesota city. So much so that a public meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Holzinger Lodge, located at 925 West Lake Blvd.
They're calling it a gathering to find out "What's up with all the rattlesnakes in Winona?"
"The Minnesota DNR Nongame Wildlife Program and City of Winona Natural Resources and Sustainability Program will be holding a public meeting to address concerns about rattlesnake sightings in Winona," says Winona Police Department in a message to residents.
"There will be a short presentation about rattlesnakes in the area, followed by a question and answer session. No snakes will be present at this meeting."
According to WCCO, the police department has averaged about two timber rattlesnake reports a week since late June, all of them from the Wincrest area, which is located near the Garvin Heights bluffs on the south side of the city.
"Are they in Town Town as well ???? Or along the Bluff community ??????" asked a concerned resident in the comments section of the police department's post.
"Along the bluffs for the most part," police responded.
*Laughs uncomfortably, takes step backward*
Here's what a timber rattlesnake looks like, according to the DNR.
- Thick-bodied snake
- Triangular head
- Head rust/brown in color
- Body is rust-orange to yellow, brown, or sometimes gray with dark brown to black chevrons or cross bands
- Velvet-black tail ends in a cream-colored rattle
- Adult rattler can reach up to 54 inches in length, but averages 28-36 inches
If you're not dead inside yet, here's more about their (gulp) diet, per the DNR.
"Minnesota has 17 native species of snakes, but only two are venomous. The timber rattlesnake is one. (The massasauga has not been reported here for more than 25 years.) It uses its hollow fangs to inject venom, which soon immobilizes its prey—rodents, squirrels, and other small mammals. The snake uses heat-sensing pits on its face to relocate prey, which it then consumes whole."
Bear in mind though that the snakes are typically private and won't bother you if you don't bother them, though their venom can cause serious symptoms, and can be particularly dangerous for pets like dogs.
So maybe be careful if you're in the bluffs of Winona, and feel free to check out Winona PD's Facebook page at 7 p.m.