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Interest in venomous snakes growing

DWR proposes new safety rules

Did you know that the number of Utahns who want to catch and keep a venomous snake in their home is growing?

Midget faded rattlesnake
Under the proposed rule change, the midget faded rattlesnake is one of two species that an individual could catch in the wild and breed in a home.

Photo courtesy of Ron Stewart

To make sure this activity is done safely, the Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing several changes to the state law that governs it.

Utah's five public Regional Advisory Councils want your thoughts about the DWR's ideas. (You can download a PDF of the agency's ideas online.)

"The desire to catch venomous snakes in the wild and then breed them in captivity is growing among herpetologists in Utah," says Krissy Wilson, native aquatic species coordinator for the DWR.

Wilson says six rattlesnake species live in Utah. The DWR is proposing that enthusiasts be allowed to catch and keep only the two most common rattlesnakes in the state—the midget faded rattlesnake and the Great Basin rattlesnake.

To keep those snakes, snake enthusiasts would have to follow a number of safety rules. "Public safety is our main concern," Wilson says. "We don't want a snake to escape from someone's home."

The requirements the DWR is proposing would also limit the number of snakes people could catch in the wild and the number of young the snakes could produce each year.

"Snake enthusiasts would also be required to follow all city or county laws related to keeping and raising venomous snakes," Wilson says.

Two ways to share your ideas

After reading the DWR's ideas at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/info/2010-02-03.pdf, you can share your thoughts with your RAC chairman one of two ways.

(Your chairman will take the input he receives to the Utah Wildlife Board when it meets March 3 and 4 in Salt Lake City. Board members will use the input to help them set snake collection and possession rules in Utah.)

E-mail

You can provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.

RAC meetings

Five Regional Advisory Council meetings will be held across Utah. You can participate and provide your input at any of the following meetings:

  • Southern Region
    Feb. 9, 7 p.m.
    Hurricane High School
    345 W 100 S, Hurricane
  • Southeastern Region
    Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m.
    John Wesley Powell Museum
    1765 E Main ST, Green River
  • Northeastern Region
    Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m.
    Uintah Basin Applied Technology College
    450 N 2000 W, Vernal
  • Central Region
    Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m.
    Central Region Conference Center
    1115 N Main ST, Springville
  • Northern Region
    Feb. 17, 6 p.m.
    Student Union Building, Room 404A
    3848 Harrison BLVD, Ogden

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

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