One of the things I love most about this time of year is getting up and getting moving outdoors. I particularly love camping and being in the woods. When Shawn and I camp, we often take hikes looking for wildlife. We've encountered a lot of things on those hikes including countless lizards and snakes.

In the state of Indiana, there is one snake that is really rare to run across for a couple of reasons. One is that they are secretive little serpents that spend most of their lives underground or under some kind of cover. Another reason that you may not run across this particular snake is that they are endangered in the state of Indiana. To be considered state-endangered the Indiana Department of Natural Resources includes,

Any animal species whose prospects for survival or recruitment within the state are in immediate jeopardy and are in danger of disappearing from the state. This includes all species classified as endangered or threatened by the federal government that occur in Indiana

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So what exactly is this secretive, endangered snake? The Kirtland's snake - they subsist mainly on worms and slugs and enjoy wet soil, marshes and floodplains to be specific. Indiana DNR says the easiest way to identify a these non-aggressive and non-venomous snakes are "by their pink bellies which are lined with rows of small black spots." While they are not found often in the northern part of the state, they are found occasionally in southern Indiana and even central Indiana as well.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources asks that if you encounter a Kirtland's snake and take a photograph of it, that you send it to them at HerpSurveys@dnr.IN.gov and they will catalogue your sighting. (You can read Indiana DNR's full Facebook post here)

[Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources]

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