Metro East tenants plagued by snakes, some fear they are venomous

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 19 at 5:40 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Imagine walking out your door to see a large snake curled up on your front porch.

It happened to an East St. Louis woman who says it’s a growing problem at her apartment complex.

Jill Hoskins told News 4 she believes the snake she saw Tuesday was poisonous and that children there are at risk.

Hoskins said the snake was a Cottonmouth, and whilee that would be unusual because Cottonmouths are found mostly in southern Illinois, it is not unprecedented.

“I turned around, the snake was curled up hissing,” she said. “I took off running.”

Hoskins called police and her daughter shot cell phone video as officers killed the snake and disposed of it.

Hoskins said an officer on scene told her the snake was a Cottonmouth, also known as a Water Moccasin.

“My concern is our children play in these yards every day,” she said.

Bill Fox, owner of The Tie Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights, says communication is imperative in protecting kids and cautions parents to get all the facts before being concerned.

“If it’s a venomous snake I’d say yes, non-venomous, no,” he said. “Kids are curious so I would possibly inform the kids if you see it, just leave it alone.”

Fox said he thinks the snake at Hoskins’ apartment was probably a non-venomous Black Rat Snake, known to climb and eat birds, rats and mice.

He says Cottonmouths are generally not found this far north, but it is possible that a Cottonmouth may have been caught and released in the area.

The housing authority says it will begin sprinkling lime around the foundation of the building to keep the snakes away. 

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