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Title: Poisonous Snakes of Kansas
Author: Clarke, Robert F.
Language: English
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                       POISONOUS SNAKES OF KANSAS

                            Robert F. Clarke
                         Department of Biology
                Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia

                     _THE KANSAS SCHOOL NATURALIST_
                     Vol. 5 No. 3    February 1959

                               The Kansas
                           School Naturalist

                             _Published by_
              The Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia

                        _Prepared and Issued by_

                    The Department of Biology, with
              the cooperation of the Division of Education

                       _Editor_: John Breukelman
                         Department of Biology

    _Editorial Committee_: Ina M. Borman, Robert F. Clarke, Helen M.
       Douglass, Gilbert A. Leisman, Carl W. Prophet, Dixon Smith

Because of the greatly increased cost, due to the color plates, no free
copies of this issue will be available. Extra copies may be obtained for
25 cents each, postpaid. Send orders to _The Kansas School Naturalist_,
Department of Biology, State Teachers College, Emporia, Kansas.

_The Kansas School Naturalist_ is sent upon request, free of charge, to
Kansas teachers and others interested in nature education.

_The Kansas School Naturalist_ is published in October, December,
February, and April of each year by The Kansas State Teachers College,
Twelfth Avenue and Commercial Street, Emporia, Kansas. Second-class mail
privileges authorized at Emporia, Kansas.

                       Poisonous Snakes of Kansas
                          by Robert F. Clarke

Many persons either do not know anything at all about the poisonous
snakes of our state or have a distorted group of misconceptions
concerning them. These misconceptions run from plain misknowledge about
the range or identification of poisonous snakes to fancifully elaborate
stories in which there may or may not be the barest thread of fact.

The prime reason that every person should know the poisonous snakes of
his region by sight and know something about their habits, distribution,
and abundance is that it will ease the mind of the average individual in
all of his outdoor pursuits. Most persons have heard so many false
stories about snakes that they develop a fear of _all_ snakes. _This
fear is unfounded!_ A person who knows what poisonous snakes he can
expect to encounter in a given area need only learn to identify these
and realize that _all other snakes_, _lizards_, _frogs_, _toads_,
_salamanders_, and _turtles_ do not have a poisonous bite, and,
therefore, he need not fear them. With a knowledge of the poisonous
snakes, a person can avoid places where these snakes might be found.
Another aspect is the _conservation_ of snakes. Too many people kill
snakes just because they happen to be snakes. This is uncalled for
destruction—a non-poisonous snake should no more be killed than a song
bird. In many cases, the harmless snakes are of direct economic value.

In general, all snakes are similar in habits. In Kansas, they retire for
the winter in places where the temperature will not get below the
freezing point. These may be in rocky ledges, beneath the soil, below
the roots of trees, or in protected places of human design, such as
grain bins, cisterns, cellars, and silos. With the warm days of spring,
the snakes emerge from their winter quarters and set about finding food
and mates. After mating, the sexes separate and each individual snake
goes its own way to forage for food for the rest of the year. Some
snakes lay eggs and others produce the young alive. There is about an
even division of these types in Kansas. The king snakes, rat snakes,
bull snakes, racers, and many smaller snakes lay eggs in early summer.
These eggs are deposited in a spot suitable for hatching, generally
beneath a rock or in the soil. When they hatch, the young fend for
themselves. In Kansas, water snakes, garter snakes, poisonous snakes,
and some smaller snakes give birth to living young in late summer or
early fall. Again, the young are on their own after birth. With the
coming of cooler weather the snakes leave their summer feeding grounds
and travel to places where they will hibernate for the winter.

MYTHS: Probably no other group of animals has had the variety and
expanse of tall tales credited to them as have the snakes. As the
stories go, there are snakes that can put their tails in their mouths
and roll downhill hoop-like, snakes that are capable of milking cows
dry, snakes that fly into pieces when struck and later reassemble into
whole snakes again, snakes that charm their prey, and others too
numerous to mention here. Some of these tales deal specifically with the
poisonous power of snakes or with snakes that are venomous. There is the
“Blow viper,” whose very breath is poisonous! The butt of this fable is
the utterly harmless hog-nosed snake, pictured on Page 13. Many persons
think that the poisonous “fang” of a snake is the structure which is
frequently flicked in and out of the snake’s mouth. This is really its
tongue, and is present in _all_ snakes. The “fang” is an enlarged tooth
in the upper jaw (see diagram, page 5). Four of the many untruths about
poisonous snakes are (1) rattlesnakes cannot cross a horsehair
rope—_they can_! (2) cottonmouth water moccasins cannot bite under
water—_they can_! (3) rattlesnakes always rattle before they strike—_not
always_! (4) the rattles present on the tail of a rattlesnake indicate
the snake’s age—_no_, a new segment is added each time that the skin is
shed, which may occur several times during a year.

FOOD: Most of the adult poisonous snakes of Kansas consume only
warm-blooded prey, consisting primarily of small rodents: white-footed
mice, shrews, voles, and cotton rats in the fields, and house mice and
rats about human habitations. Small birds and young rabbits may be
taken, as well as occasional lizards and insects. The copperhead is more
insectivorous than the rattlesnakes, and the cottonmouth feeds upon
other creatures that inhabit the edges of waterways.

The poison of venomous snakes is not only a defensive mechanism, but
also a highly efficient food-getting device. Whereas some of the snakes
strike and hold the prey within their jaws until the poison has rendered
it helpless, others only strike and follow the trail to where the victim

In feeding, the snake does not chew its food, but swallows it whole. The
jaws are wonderfully adapted for this purpose, having the bones on each
side of the jaws attached to their mates on the other side by an elastic
ligament, and the upper and lower jaws also joined by such an
attachment. This allows the jaws to be spread apart and lowered, making
an opening capable of taking in a food item actually larger in diameter
than the snake! The teeth of both the upper and lower jaws are recurved,
pointing inward, and as each section of the jaw can work independently,
one side secures its grip while the other side moves forward. Thus, the
snake actually crawls around its food.

ABUNDANCE: The non-poisonous snakes far outnumber the poisonous kinds,
both in number of species and individuals. In the United States, there
are approximately 95 species of non-poisonous snakes and only 19 species
of poisonous ones, including 15 rattlesnakes, one copperhead, one
cottonmouth, and two coral snakes. In Kansas, there are six species of
poisonous snakes (two should hardly be counted) and 34 species of
non-poisonous snakes. Many of the non-poisonous species are common and
widespread. It is far more probable that any snake seen is non-poisonous
than poisonous.

SNAKE BITE: Venom is secreted from glands within the head, on each side
behind the eyes, causing the swollen appearance of the head in this
region. The venom travels through ducts to each of the two fangs. The
fangs are enlarged teeth in the front of the upper jaw. They are hollow,
with one end connected to the poison duct and the other end having an
opening on the front edge near the tip. The fangs are also fastened to a
moveable bone, which enables the fangs to be folded back against the
upper jaw when the mouth is shut and erected and directed forward when
the mouth is opened to strike. The power of a strike imbeds the fangs
into the skin of the victim, and muscles force venom from the glands
through the duct and hollow fang and out of the opening at the tip. The
venom causes a breakdown of the red blood corpuscles and walls of blood
vessels. It also has an effect upon the nervous system. Some snakes have
venom which is much more destructive to the nervous system. The pit
vipers have venom which is more _hemotoxic_ (destructive to blood),
whereas the coral snake, which belongs to the cobra group, has a venom
which is _neurotoxic_ (destructive to nerves).

The venom is yellowish and somewhat “thicker” than water. The amount of
poison ejected at any one strike varies from a part of a drop to 2 cubic
centimeters, depending upon size and kind of snake, and time elapsed
since last venom ejection. Various factors influence the amount of venom
which is injected into the victim, i.e., smaller snakes have smaller
fangs and less venom; strikes through clothing or footwear are less

It has been estimated that there are fewer than 50 deaths due to snake
bite in the United States in a year; most of these bites result from
imprudent handling of venomous serpents. There has been no survey of
snakebite in Kansas, but few deaths are reported annually. At times
several years have elapsed without any deaths being reported. Most
victims are less than 20 years of age and most bites occur on the hands,
feet, arms, or legs.

It should be stressed that poisonous snakes cannot be made harmless by
removing the fangs. The poison glands and ducts remain and other teeth
can still scratch the skin, allowing entrance of the venom. Also,
“reserve” fangs are normally present. These are immature fangs lying
along the upper jaw bone. At intervals a reserve fang grows down beside
a fang which has been used for some time. The old fang is shed and a new
sharp “hypodermic needle” is in position. Thus, snakes are sometimes
found with three or four fangs.

    [Illustration: Skulls]


Snake venom is used to manufacture _antivenin_, which is injected into
snakebite victims to help counteract the effects of the poison. The
venom is injected in graduated doses into horses, which build up an
immunity to the venom. Blood is withdrawn from the horse and the serum
is processed to produce antivenin.

      How To Tell A Poisonous From A Non-Poisonous Snake In Kansas

The features given here apply only to Kansas snakes and may not be
applicable elsewhere. Even in Kansas, there are some non-poisonous
snakes which exhibit either the tail or eye characteristics given for
poisonous snakes, but none have the pit. It probably need not be pointed
out that these features can be seen only when the snake can be examined
closely. Certainly, every snake should not be picked up to look for
these characteristics! A warning is necessary at this point—reflex
action can cause an apparently “dead” snake to bite, so do not handle
“dead” snakes with the hands; use a stick. The best way to be able to
identify a poisonous snake is to know _all_ of the venomous snakes of
your region by sight. Color and pattern are distinctive and are easily


    [Illustration: POISONOUS]

  1. Pupil of eye elliptical (cat-like)
  2. Pit between eye and nostril
  3. Two enlarged teeth (fangs) in front of the upper jaw
  4. Scales on underside of tail in a single row


    [Illustration: NON-POISONOUS]

  1. Pupil of eye round
  2. No pit between eye and nostril
  3. All teeth of upper jaw approximately same size
  4. Scales on underside of tail in a double row

                     Key To Kansas Poisonous Snakes

  I. No rattle or button on end of tail.
    1. Color pink-brown to red-brown with 10-20 light-edged crossbands
          on body, narrow on top and wider at lower side. Dark spot
          coinciding with and between each crossband at lower edge of
          side. Top of head copper-colored—COPPERHEAD, (page 7).
    2. Always in vicinity of water. Pattern generally obscured by dark
          grey or black. If pattern is obvious, crossbands not narrow on
          mid-back and top of head not copper-colored (Note: extremely
          restricted range in Kansas)—COTTONMOUTH (page 7).
  II. End of tail provided with a button or rattles.
    1. Top of head provided with paired plates, (see diagram), dark
          colored, small size, MASSASAUGA (page 10).
    2. Top of head covered with numerous small scales; no paired plates.
      (a) tail pattern alternating black and chalk white bands—WESTERN
          DIAMOND-BACK RATTLER (page 10).
      (b) tail pattern same as rest of body—PRAIRIE RATTLER (page 11).
      (c) tail entirely velvety black—TIMBER RATTLER (page 11).

    [Illustration: TAIL TIPS]


COPPERHEAD (_Agkistrodon contortrix_). Length usually 2-3 feet. Common
where it occurs, the copperhead is probably the most abundant poisonous
snake in eastern Kansas. It is most frequently found in the vicinity of
rocky ledges in oak-hickory-walnut woods, but it ranges widely, so that
individuals may be found in almost any habitat during summer months.
Although generally nocturnal during most of its active season, its habit
of lying in the open during the daytime among dried leaves in patches of
sunlight and shadow causes the pattern to blend perfectly with the
background. Any hiker through this habitat should be alert. Because of
the rather small size, usually inoffensive disposition, and the low
toxicity of its venom this snake should be placed on the non-fatal list
for adults. Elderly persons, those in poor health, or small children
could find the copperhead bite fatal, however.

    [Illustration: Map]

A subspecies of the copperhead occurs along the southern border of
Kansas. In this form, the crossbands are wider along the mid-line than
the more northern variety.

Young copperheads have a sulfur-yellow tail. This color is lost as the
snake matures. It is thought that this contrasting tail color is used as
a lure to bring prey within striking distance of the small snake. The
young are born in August or September. There may be from two to ten in a

COTTONMOUTH (_Agkistrodon piscivorus_). Length 3-4 feet. The poisonous
water moccasin has been taken only once in Kansas. This was on the
Neosho River in Labette County at the Cherokee County line. It is on the
basis of this single specimen that it is counted as one of the snakes of
Kansas! The many general reports of water moccasins in Kansas refer to
the mistaken identification of the harmless water snakes that are common
throughout most of the state (see page 12). Young cottonmonths are
patterned quite like a wide-banded copperhead, but the colors are not so
reddish. These snakes are always found in the vicinity of water. When
approached they quite often hold their ground and open their mouths
widely, revealing the white lining of the mouth, a habit which gives
them their common name. This heavy-bodied snake is dangerously poisonous
and, contrary to popular belief, can bite underwater.

    [Illustration: Map]

Whereas the copperhead is a rather mild-mannered snake, the cottonmouth
has a vicious disposition. Although nocturnal, it likes to sun-bathe,
and it is frequently seen basking along shorelines, stretched out on low
branches or upon the bank. Where this snake occurs, it is usually

Generally, eight or nine young are born in August or September, although
the number of young may range from five to fifteen. Like the copperhead,
the young have a yellow tail tip.

    [Illustration: COPPERHEAD]

    [Illustration: COTTONMOUTH]

    [Illustration: MASSASAUGA]

    [Illustration: WESTERN DIAMOND-BACK]

    [Illustration: TIMBER RATTLER]

    [Illustration: PRAIRIE RATTLER]


MASSASAUGA (_Sistrurus catenatus_). Length 24-27 inches. This snake
belongs to a group of small rattlesnakes called “ground” or “pygmy”
rattlers, which are differentiated from the larger rattlers by having
paired scales on top of the head, as have the copperhead, cottonmouth,
and non-poisonous snakes. The massasauga occurs in open fields and rocky
outcroppings. It is particularly common in the Flint Hills. This is the
“prairie rattler” of eastern Kansas, often found under hay bales in
fields. Its food consists primarily of small rodents. The small size and
usually docile disposition of this snake tend to place it upon the
non-dangerous list, but its venom is extremely toxic, and _any_ bite
from a poisonous snake is dangerous. When aroused, these small snakes
strike with a fury not seen in the larger snakes. The rattling of this
small snake is hardly louder than the buzz of a grasshopper.

    [Illustration: Map]

The name “massasauga” is an Indian term, meaning “swamp dweller,” a
habitat preference which is evidenced more in the states to the
northeast of Kansas.

Two subspecies occur in Kansas. In the eastern part of the state is the
form that occurs eastward of Kansas, characterized by the dark belly;
the lighter-bellied form extends westward from eastern Kansas into
states to the southwest.

About eight or nine young are born, usually in August or September.

WESTERN DIAMOND-BACKED RATTLESNAKE (_Crotalus atrox_). Length 4-5 feet,
although some are larger. In the United States, probably more deaths are
caused by this snake than by any other. A combination of large size,
wide distribution, abundance, and touchy temperament give this
distinction to this snake. It is hardly a member of the Kansas snake
fauna, having been found only twice in the state, both times in the
southeastern corner. It should occur, although presently unrecorded, in
south-central Kansas along the Oklahoma line. It is rather common in
Oklahoma, just south of this region. The diamond-back prefers dry open
plains and canyons, where it feeds upon small rodents, young rabbits,
and occasionally, birds. The ground color varies somewhat from buff to
gray; the snake generally has a faded appearance. The black and white
tail bands are distinctive.

    [Illustration: Map]

About ten young are born in late summer or early fall. Larger litters
have been recorded. The young are fully capable of inflicting a
dangerous bite as soon as they are born—and quite willing to do so!

In northern Oklahoma, an annual rattlesnake roundup is held, in which
several hundred diamond-backs are captured. These are processed for
their venom, from which antitoxin is made. Some of the rattlesnakes are
cooked and their steaks used in a banquet. The meat is firm and quite

TIMBER RATTLESNAKE (_Crotalus horridus_). Length 3-4 feet, occasionally
longer. The timber rattler occurs only in eastern Kansas and is only
locally common, at scattered localities. It prefers the deciduous forest
where limestone rock outcrops as ledges, but may wander into cultivated
fields and open areas during late spring and summer. The food consists
primarily of small rodents and young rabbits. Ordinarily, it is a
mild-mannered snake, one which will seek to escape direct contact with
man, but its size and habit of living close to human habitations
necessitate considering this rattler dangerous. Ground color may vary
from a light gray to yellow, with the black chevron-shaped blotches of
the back uniting with lateral blotches to form crossbands. Another
common name for the timber rattler is _banded rattlesnake_. Some
individuals may be almost _all_ black. The tail is characteristically
velvet black in adults; banded in young.

    [Illustration: Map]

During late spring and summer the timber rattler is quite often
encountered crossing roads, where its large size and slow movement often
make it a victim of modern transportation.

The timber rattler has a habit of frequently spending daylight time just
beneath the edge of overhanging rocks. A hiker should always look
beneath any rocks of this sort before using the rock as a resting place.

PRAIRIE RATTLESNAKE (_Crotalus viridis_). Length 3-4 feet. This
rattlesnake is common in western Kansas, where it frequents rocky open
regions, grassy prairies, and agricultural areas. In eastern Kansas it
has been found only in the Pittsburg vicinity, and any “prairie rattler”
east of Wichita or Manhattan is usually the massasauga. The habit of
denning in large groups is well-known. Several hundred have been found
in hibernation in a single den. The food of the prairie rattler is
warm-blooded, mostly rodents and small rabbits. It appears to be active
in the daytime, whereas the other poisonous snakes are mainly nocturnal.
The ground color varies from a light gray to green, and the pattern of
dorsal blotches with alternating rows of lateral blotches may cause it
to be confused with the smaller massasauga, but the scales on top of the
head are all small on the prairie rattler, whereas paired plates are
present on the massasauga (see diagram, page 6).

    [Illustration: Map]

Young are born in late summer or early fall. Usually nine to twelve
constitute a litter. As few as five and as many as seventeen have been
recorded, however.

It has been found that any one female prairie rattler gives birth to a
litter of young every other year. These young are generally about twelve
inches in length.

This snake has a wide range over western United States, where it is
probably the most common rattlesnake. It is frequently found in prairie
dog villages. The burrows of these animals are utilized as shelter and
the young are used as food items.

                      Some Common Harmless Snakes

The following six snakes are representative of the harmless snakes
commonly and incorrectly thought to be poisonous by the general public.

1. HOG-NOSED SNAKE. Length 2-2½ feet. This is the “blow viper,”
“spreadhead viper,” “spreading adder,” or other equally ill-named snake
usually found in dry sandy areas. It has a threatening defensive bluff
which consists of spreading the fore part of the body cobra-like,
hissing and striking (but with mouth closed). Failing to intimidate its
opponent, the snake will contort its body convulsively and roll onto its
back—apparently dead. It will remain inert unless rolled over onto its
stomach; then it will roll onto its back again—the only proper attitude
for a dead snake!

2. BLUE RACER. Length 3-4 feet. Many stories are told about this snake
attacking persons. It is doubted that most are true interpretations of
fact. These rapid-moving snakes may come at a person who is in line with
the snake’s preconceived idea of an escape route. Upon capture, most
blue racers will bite, but they are definitely non-poisonous. These
snakes feed mostly upon small rodents. The color varies in individuals
from blue-green to olive or olive-brown; underside is yellow.

3. COMMON WATER SNAKE. Length 2-3 feet. This snake and the
yellow-bellied water snake, of very similar appearance, are the most
often noted snakes along creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds. These are
usually the “moccasins” that frighten persons near water. Entirely
harmless, but with a vicious disposition, these snakes feed upon small
fish, frogs, and other creatures that inhabit their neighborhood.

4. DIAMOND-BACKED WATER SNAKE. Length 3 feet. Heavy body, dark
appearance, and mean disposition give this particular snake a bad
reputation. More than any other Kansas snake, this one gives rise to
stories of the poisonous cottonmouth being distributed throughout
eastern and southern portions of the state. It is always found in the
vicinity of water and feeds upon creatures it finds there.

5. PILOT BLACK SNAKE. Length 5-6 feet. Also more properly called the
black rat snake, a descriptive title which is particularly apt.
Occasionally, this large snake may find where hen eggs are available and
become a nuisance in the hen house, but the wise farmer who allows one
of these snakes to stay around the barn and corncrib will reap dividends
from the destruction wrought upon the rodent population. This snake is a
much better mouser than any cat!

6. RED MILK SNAKE. Length 2-3 feet. A beautiful jewel of a snake, this
small creature has been credited with the ability to milk a cow dry!
Such a feat is impossible for a number of reasons. This reputation was
acquired because this snake was frequently found in barns, where it had
gone in search of mice, a favorite food item. The color pattern might be
confused with that of the poisonous coral snake (not found in Kansas).
In the coral snake, however, the red and yellow rings are adjacent.

    [Illustration: HOG-NOSED SNAKE]

    [Illustration: BLUE RACER]

    [Illustration: PILOT BLACKSNAKE]

    [Illustration: COMMON WATER SNAKE]


    [Illustration: RED MILK SNAKE]


                        Treatment of Snake Bite

If possible, determine definitely if the snake is poisonous. If it is
not, no treatment is necessary other than application of an antiseptic.
If the snake is poisonous, typical symptoms will appear rapidly: bruised
appearance at bite, noticeable swelling, and intense pain. Later, the
victim may become nauseated and may even faint. The important thing to
do is to get to a doctor or a hospital as soon as possible. In the
meantime, the following measures should be taken to retard the spread of
the venom.

  1. Place tourniquet between bite and body. Use handkerchief, tie, or
  any other handy cloth. Tie loosely around arm, place stick in slack
  part and twist. (Fig. A) Tourniquet should not be too tight. Should be
  able to push finger under it. Loosen for a minute every 15 minutes. If
  bitten on hand or lower arm, be sure to remove any rings, bracelets,
  or watches.

    [Illustration: A]

  2. Sterilize a knife or razor blade, using a match, and make a cut
  through each fang puncture ¼ inch deep and ½ inch long, parallel to
  limb. (Fig. B).

    [Illustration: B]

  3. Apply suction to cuts, using either the cup from a snake-bite kit
  or the mouth, if there are no sores, cracked lips, or bleeding gums.
  Continue suction for several minutes. (Fig. C).

    [Illustration: C]

  4. As swelling progresses up limb, tourniquet should be moved ahead of
  swelling and additional cuts and suction should be made at edge of
  swelling. (Fig. D).

    [Illustration: D]

  5. A wet compress should be applied over all cuts to encourage
  bleeding. (Fig. E).

    [Illustration: E]

Upon arrival at doctor’s or hospital, antivenom may be injected after
the determination for serum sensitivity. Antivenin may be administered
by a person other than a doctor, but this is recommended only in cases
where a doctor or hospital is not readily accessible.

Snake bite kits are available at most drug stores and should be carried
by persons or groups going into areas inhabited by poisonous snakes.


  1. Don’t step over logs. Step on top and _look_ before stepping down.
  2. When climbing rocky ledges or turning over logs or rocks, don’t
          place hands where you can’t see.
  3. When walking among leaves, rocks, or grass, _look_ before you step.
  4. Don’t keep poisonous snakes.
  5. Learn to recognize by sight the poisonous snakes of your region,
          their habits and habitats.


Conant, Roger. 1958. _A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians._ 366
      pages. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. $3.95.

Klauber, Lawrence M. 1956. _Rattlesnakes: their habits, life histories,
      and influences on mankind._ 2 vols. University of California
      Press, Berkeley.

Minton, Sherman A. _Snake-bite in the midwestern region._ Quarterly
      Bulletin, Indiana University Medical Center, Vol. 14, No. 2.

Minton, Sherman A. Snakebite. _Scientific American_, January 1957, Vol.
      196, No. 1.

Oliver, James A. 1955. _The Natural History of North American Amphibians
      and Reptiles._ 359 pages. D. Van Nostrand Co., Princeton, N. J.

Pope, Clifford H. 1955. _The Reptile World._ 325 pages. Alfred A. Knopf,

Pope, Clifford H. 1952. _Snakes Alive and How They Live._ 238 pages. The
      Viking Press, N. Y.

Schmidt, Karl P. and D. Dwight Davis. 1941. _Field Book of Snakes of the
      United States and Canada._ G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.

Smith, Hobart M. 1956. _Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas._
      356 pages. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, $1.50.

Werler, John E. 1950. The poisonous snakes of Texas and the first aid
      treatment of their bites. _Texas Fish and Game_, February, 1950.

Wyeth, Inc., Philadelphia, Pa. _Antivenin_ (North American Antisnakebite
      Serum). 15 pages.

                            ABOUT THIS ISSUE

The cover picture is a copperhead. This snake was photographed alive,
but somewhat anesthetized with ether, by Dr. John Breukelman and the
author, using a single-lens reflex 35 mm. camera, type A Kodachrome film
and two photofloods. The illustrations on page 14 were taken by these
same two, using a Polaroid Land camera, photofloods, and graduate
student George Ratzlafl as victim. The line drawings and color
illustrations were made by the author. The color plates of non-poisonous
and poisonous snakes were painted in water colors, using live and
preserved snakes as models. The original paintings have been reduced
one-half in this publication.

Poisonous snakes are only one aspect of the study of herpetology, which
includes other reptiles, as well as amphibians. These together may be
referred to as herptiles. There are 97 species of herptiles in Kansas: 9
salamanders, 20 frogs and toads, 15 lizards, 40 snakes, and 13 turtles.
The turtles of Kansas have been described in a past issue of The Kansas
School Naturalist (April, 1956), and an issue on the lizards of the
state is in preparation.

                            PREVIOUS ISSUES

Oct. 1954, Window Nature Study; Dec. 1954, Wildlife in Winter; Feb.
1955, Children’s Books for Nature Study (First in a series): April 1955,
Let’s Go Outdoors; Oct. 1955, Fall Wildflowers; Dec. 1955, Snow; Feb.
1956, Spring Wildflowers; April 1956, Turtles in Kansas; Oct. 1956,
Hawks in Kansas; Dec. 1956, Children’s Books for Nature Study (Second in
the series); Feb. 1957, Life in a Pond; April 1957, Spiders; Oct. 1957,
Along the Roadside; Dec. 1957, An Outline for Conservation Teaching in
Kansas; Feb. 1958, Trees; April 1958, Summer Wildflowers; Oct. 1958,
Watersheds in Kansas; Dec. 1958, Let’s Build Equipment.

Those printed in boldface type are still available upon request. The
others are out of print, but may be found in many school and public
libraries in Kansas.

                       AUDUBON SCREEN TOUR SERIES

The Biology Department of the Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia
is sponsoring its second _Audubon Screen Tour Series_ during the current
school year. This series consists of five all-color motion pictures of
wildlife, scenics, plant science, and conservation, personally narrated
by leading naturalists. Three of the five programs have been presented;
the other two will be given in Albert Taylor Hall at 8:00 p.m. on the
dates listed below.

  OLIN SEWALL PETTINGILL, JR., Penguin Summer, Monday, April 13.
  WILLIAM FERGUSON, This Curious World in Nature, Friday, May 15.

Plan to attend with some of your students. Family and single admission
tickets are available. For additional information write to Carl Prophet,
Biology Department, KSTC, Emporia.

                        WORKSHOP IN CONSERVATION

Plan now to attend the 1959 Workshop in Conservation, which will be a
part of the 1959 Summer Session of the Kansas State Teachers College of
Emporia, June 2 to 19, and June 22 to July 10, 1959.

As in the past several years, the Workshop will cover water, soil,
grassland, and wildlife conservation teaching. Such topics as geography
and climate of Kansas, water resources, soil erosion problems and
control, grass as a resource, bird banding, wildflowers, conservation
clubs, and conservation teaching in various grades will be discussed.
There will be lectures, demonstrations, discussion groups, films,
slides, field trips, projects, and individual and group reports. You may
enroll for undergraduate or graduate credit.

Any interested person may enroll in the first section, enrollment in the
second section is limited to those who have an established interest in
conservation and some teaching experience.

Fee for first section (3 hours credit): Residents of Kansas, $22.95;
non-resident, $42.45

Fee for second section (1, 2, or 3 hours credit): Residents of Kansas,
$7.65 per hour; non-resident, $14.15 per hour

For other information about the Workshop write Robert F. Clarke,
Department of Biology, KSTC, Emporia, Kansas.

                      The Kansas School Naturalist
                   The Kansas State Teachers College
                  Twelfth Avenue and Commercial Street
                            Emporia, Kansas

                      Second-class mail privileges
                     authorized at Emporia, Kansas

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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