A general rule of thumb is to stay away from unfamiliar animals, especially snakes.  In South Dakota, you never really know what to expect from wildlife animals, or what they might do. Snakes especially are just slithering through the plains and west river areas.

It's always important to look down once in a while when you're walking through the Badlands or through the tall grass. Prairie Rattlesnakes, in particular, are frequent residents of the national park.

There's one other snake in South Dakota that is usually hanging around the plains.  Although this snake in the picture seems intimidating, it's not what it totally appears to be.

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The Smooth Green Snake camouflages perfectly in the grass, which is why it could be easily missed when you're out hiking.  The Smooth Green Snake can be up to 20 inches long and have that bright green skin. It's really kind of hard to confuse it with any other snake in the state.

Amphibians & Reptiles of South Dakota says Green Smooth Snakes can be found in "moist grassy areas in wet meadows, prairies, and woodlands but have also been found in residential and suburban areas."  They can be found under logs and rocks. These snakes usually eat insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and caterpillars.  However, don't be surprised if you see them eating snails, slugs, beetles, and frogs once in a while.

Now the real question is this: Are Smooth Green Snakes poisonous? Although their eyes and skin color may look intimidating, they are not poisonous. They could actually care less about humans. But that doesn't mean they won't bite if they feel threatened.

Prairie Rattlesnakes are the only poisonous snakes that inhabit the state of South Dakota.

My advice, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Just stay away from this snake or any other snake.  Just move along and mind your own business.

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