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'All About Snakes' at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park

First Peoples Buffalo Jump
First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park map
Posted at 10:30 AM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 12:33:07-04

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park will host a presentation about snakes on Saturday, May 18, 2024, from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.

The free program will be presented by Dan “The Snake Man” Waitt and will teach attendees about the behavior and ecology of Montana snakes, and how to safely navigate the trails in the park during the summer snake season, as well as dispel some of the common myths and calm fears for people uncomfortable around snakes.

The program will be inside the First Peoples Buffalo Jump classroom and does not include a hike.

Seating capacity in the park’s classroom is suitable for 50 people, and will be available on a first come, first served basis.

According to Montana State University, the following types of snakes can be found in Montana:

The Western rattlesnake (sometimes called a prairie rattlesnake) is Montana's only venomous snake. It has a triangular head, blunt nose, narrow neck, stout body and a tail that ends in a rattle. Rattlesnakes are found in most of Montana and are 15 to 60 inches long.

The rubber boa looks and feels like rubber. This small stout snake (12 to 18 inches long) has small eyes, a blunt tail and is distributed throughout western Montana.

The racer is a long (20- to 65-inch), slender snake found throughout Montana. The belly is whitish to pale yellow with the back of adults varying from greenish grey to brown or blue.

The Western hognose snake is heavy-bodied and can reach 32 inches long. It has an upturned nose and its back is yellowish to gray-brown with three rows of dark brown blotches running longitudinally.

The milk snake is highly recognizable with a series of red-orange saddles or rings that are bordered by black rings and separated by white or yellow rings. This medium-sized, slender snake can reach lengths of 42 inches. It is rarely found in Montana.

The smooth green snake is rare in Montana and only reported in the far northeast. About 26 inches long as an adult, it is bright green in color above and whitish below.

The gopher snake or bull snake is very common in Montana. It can reach a length of seven feet and is readily identified by a series of large black or brown blotches that run down the back, and another series along the sides.

Montana has three garter snake species which can be identified by three yellow stripes running the length of the body. The stripes vary from yellow to orange-yellow to green-yellow along the back. The adults are 16 to 43 inches long and are found throughout the state.

No advance registration is required for this free program, and participants should meet at the visitor center in the park, which is located 3.5 miles north of Ulm, just off Interstate 15 at exit 270.

Admission to the park is free for Montana residents; non-residents pay $8 per vehicle.

For more information, call the park at 406-866-2217.