Archive for Thursday, May 21, 2009

Potentially poisonous snake spotted near Haskell; officials urge caution

Lachesis muta, or bushmaster

Lachesis muta, or bushmaster

May 21, 2009, 3:18 p.m. Updated May 22, 2009, 8:15 a.m.


Venomous snakes allegedly dumped near Haskell

Officials at Haskell are asking people to be on the lookout for poisonous snakes. Enlarge video

Haskell Indian Nations University officials are asking people to use caution on the west side of campus and in locations west of the campus, after a biologist spotted a potentially poisonous snake in the area.

“Just use caution, especially with your animals,” said Chuck Haines, Haskell biologist. “Don’t go very close to the woods for right now.”

Kansas University biology students were contacted to help look for the snake, which Haines identified as a non-native species, possibly a South American bushmaster, a venomous viper. The snakes, which can be up to eight feet in length, are the largest of South American vipers, said William Duellman, KU Natural History Museum Herpetology Division curator. “It’s the big guy,” he said.

Haines said he removed two smaller venomous snakes from the wooded area west of the school on Wednesday and received an anonymous tip that the snakes had been dumped there. Caution signs have been posted throughout Haskell’s campus warning people to be careful.

David McLeod, a KU biology doctoral student, said it’s unlikely the snake will be located because the wooded area is so large. He said non-native snakes should never be released into the wild, as they can “wreak havoc on the natural system.”

A representative of South Junior High School said the school, west of Haskell, and neighboring Broken Arrow School had been apprised of the situation.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said South African instead of South American viper.


Raider 9 years, 1 month ago

Instead of posting a sign, why don't they just take a ho or a rake, or a rifle to it? That would solve the problem. It's what most people do when thy find a snake in their yard.

nlf78 9 years, 1 month ago

A picture of the possible snake species would also be a big help!

helter_skelter 9 years, 1 month ago

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walleye9898 9 years, 1 month ago

Nice non-factual reporting and paranoia stirring.

If it is indeed an african viper (adder) then it is indeed poisonous (actually the term is venomous and it presents toxicity to humans when bitten). Depending on species, viper venom is typically more toxic than the usual venomous snakes we have around here.

These are not indiginous so somebody had to let them loose or they escaped from their cages. What is Haskell doing over there.

I wouldn't call on KU biology students but would prefer the experts in KU Natural History Museum.

Also, what were the two snakes removed on Wednesday? Surely a biology professor with access to experts up the road should be able to ID them by now?

Herpetologist 9 years, 1 month ago

The snake in question has not yet been identified, but the eyewitness report suggests it may be a South American viper in the genus Lachesis. Snakes in the genus Lachesis have excellent camouflage and it would be easy to walk past one of these animals without seeing it. Such a snake should be considered dangerous, and the public should not approach large snakes in the area around Haskell Indian Nations University.
Releasing captive animals and introducing non-native species is unethical and typically illegal. Releasing large venomous snakes in areas like Haskell with large numbers of pedestrians and joggers is extremely reckless.

otto 9 years, 1 month ago

I vote we take a large number of bulldozers to clean out all the vegetation in the area to look for the snake. Then we will have a good start on the SLT.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 1 month ago

If you see a large snake, don't play with it! NSS! I want to see one to take a picture and have it posted. I like snakes myself, think they are fascinating creatures. Know why they were considered special by some peoples?Because they coil in a circle which is the symbol for eternity and because they shed their skins and are renewed. Cool, eh? Where do people get poisonous snakes to dump them? Did you see Snakes On A Plane? I did.

gogoplata 9 years, 1 month ago

I saw a wasp buzzing around the entrance to hyvee. LJWorld please alert the public!!!!! This is news man!!

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 1 month ago

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Boston_Corbett 9 years, 1 month ago


Would this be that the famous world "trade route" leading into Herrington, Kansas?

Herpetologist 9 years, 1 month ago

The article is incorrect in two places. The snake has not as yet been identified, though the eyewitness' determination is probably correct. If the snake is in the genus Lachesis, it is from South America or Central America, and the phrase 'South African' in the article is an error. If you are curious, a quick Internet search of "Lachesis snake" returns quite a few images. The market for venoumous reptiles as pets is extensive, and animals such as this one are easily purchased on-line. The wisdom of keeping these as pets is dubious at best, and releasing them, especially into residential areas, is extremely reckless.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

The Dodge Viper is the one to watch out for.

tolawdjk 9 years, 1 month ago

Which is it, South American or South African? Ain't no Bushmasters in Botswanna.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 9 years, 1 month ago

This is obviously a newly evolved and exceptionally dangerous species. I call it Bypassicuss interuptus. It is deadly in that it bastardizes all processes while remaining virtually harmless. Its common name is the Taliban viper, though some call it the Apple regifter. Beware! I spews red herrings which could replace the native mosquito fish.

Keith 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm amused by a snake genus named after one of the three Fates. In particular, the one who measures your life, as in how long you will live. Not long if you encounter the snake.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 9 years, 1 month ago

I mean, I spews the best but it spews the test.

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 1 month ago

Marion: "You nearly made me spill my adult beverage with that one!"

Going off that gluten-free, organic diet of yours pretty early in the afternoon, eh Marion?

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 1 month ago

Marion: "or, heaven forbid, a Gaboon Viper, we could have real problems..."

Translation: 'Run for the hills. If the flu doesn't get you, the Gaboon Vipers will.'

Scott Drummond 9 years, 1 month ago

I can't help but think that somehow dick cheney is responsible for this development!

George_Braziller 9 years, 1 month ago

Give me a choice between a venomous snake or a yellow jacket and I'm not sure which one it would be.

After two massive staph infections from yellow jacket stings I think I would prefer the snake ---- at least I would have known immediately it would potentially kill me.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

Marion writes:

Agreed; it's not the History Channel but I do not have to tolerate being constantly attacked for trying to engage in reasonable and rational discussion.

all-righty then, Marion.... I am just glad that you can see your own wisdom...

ReadingSports 9 years, 1 month ago

The Pythons have been quite a problem in the Everglades. This picture was in the news sometime ago.

It would be interesting to find out what this thing is. Hopefully it's not an African viper, or South American snake either.

Maybe they could finish the bypass and run it over with a Mustang Cobra.

riverdrifter 9 years, 1 month ago Someone may be lucky that this outfit is located over in east KC MO. They stock exotic snake antivenom I believe, though their website makes no mention of it. I have several of their tongs & hooks which I use for snake rescue from roadways. The count this spring so far includes 2 timber rattlers and a juvenile copperhead. The collapsible 40" gentle giant tong is great: folds up and goes under the seat of the truck for quick deployment and they are very easy on the snake. Not going looking for a bushmaster though as Tongs doesn't make a 120" tong! Yes, you also get an interesting result if you typo

bearded_gnome 9 years, 1 month ago

scott3460 (Anonymous) says…

I can't help but think that somehow dick cheney is responsible for this development!

scott5150 down to his usual mental wasteland.

I'm wondering: who set them free there? did he/she call Haskell to tell them? *if so, sounds a bit like a terrorist threat to me!

just if I heard tonight's 6news reportage right somebody called to say they'd released the dangerous snakes there. makes me wonder!

somebody reeeeeeeeeealy mad that the SLT isn't built and wanted revenge? sick.

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 1 month ago

Marion: You should understand that MD is one of the few people I know who defends you, in person.

You should be ashamed. When you spit in her eye, you should be ashamed.

But it does not surprise me.

You are a bully, an idiot, and a fraud . You have no intellectual grounding. You are more like Cool--Spiderman than I realized.

You try to "get on top" of any sexy story line and profess your knowledge of the subject matter. Your actual knowledge of these issues is a big failure.

Although I throw the following topic in the mix on a regular basis, it is not because I am an ideologue. It is just because I know enough about the underlying facts that I know you are a terrible fraud and a fake, albeit a "kind" one.

Yes. The Holocaust. Your sycophant worship of David Irving. Your postings on this board which strain credulity of all sorts. When you say "you don't deny the holocaust." Well, who doesn't...yet you post information straight from the denialists mouths. And then you beg that any post I make about this be "deleted" from the forum.

Marion, you are harmless in some ways. But you promote belief sets which equate you with Rev. Phelps.

Katara 9 years, 1 month ago

badger badger badger badger badger badger....

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 1 month ago


  Its so terribly rough when you have to confront your own postings, eh?  I am so glad that Mr. J Kealing is forcing you to clean up your act.

   I am so pleased that you have some ability to spell an occasional English word correctly, oh God of Flu and Snakes and Such.  You criticize so much, yet you do not tolerate review of any sort.

  Oh yes, you are my constant business expert and Bankruptcy Savant.    I think Bronze is two for one on this measure with your, however.  At least he didn't do his by selling cancer to the general public.

Cheerio, Marion.   Polo tomorrow?

riverdrifter 9 years, 1 month ago

Marioni, Poisonous snakes are what drew you here in the first place but you have not an ounce of true affinity toward them. Have you ever picked up a 55" timber rattler, let her coil around your arm and buzz you right_straight_in_your_ear? It's awesome! Get out and see the world. Smell the flowers. "Time's countin' and keeps countin".

Katara 9 years, 1 month ago

And I don't know why Marion is so concerned about a venomous snake by Haskell. He's made it so abundantly clear how Native American culture is inferior to the European's culture.

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…

“I am 1/8 “Native American” and recognise exactly why that culture FAILED and why it should NOT be emulated.

I much prefer to follow my European heritage.

Ya'll have a nice day.



Frankly, I'm surprised he isn't cheering the snake on.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 1 month ago

So what's "potential" about this African viper's poisonousness?

igby 9 years, 1 month ago

If this was someone's pet and they just set it free in the woods, hopefully it was neutered and de-fanged. But why would they keep a loaded snake, sort-of-speak, in their house, if it's bite could kill them.

May be the tipster could shed some light on the history of these snakes.

Eugehne Normandin 9 years, 1 month ago

Where is St Patrick when we need him ? He is always around on mMarch 17th. Does he go back to England ?

Jeanette Kekahbah 9 years, 1 month ago

mongoose mongoose mongoose mongoose mongoose

Where's Riki Tiki Tavi when we need him? Badgering St Pat over a pint in some pub across the pond, perhaps?

Unix_Admin 9 years, 1 month ago

I live right by this wooded area and am terrified of snakes!! This really sucks! Can't they go out and do something to trap these snakes??

skinny 9 years, 1 month ago

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bluerayborn 9 years, 1 month ago

OMG! This is a bunch of funny comments! The Daily Show should get a hold of this!

doc1 9 years, 1 month ago

This is awesome!! It's about time something exciting happened around here.

gsxr600 9 years, 1 month ago

OMG front page news! Everybody go crazy. A snake.... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Ceallach 9 years, 1 month ago

My mental block toward snakes only allows me to see two types: if it rattles, it's a rattlesnake and you should kill it; if it doesn't rattle, it's a copperhead and you should kill it.

Burton 9 years, 1 month ago

Non-native snake, huh? Figures, must be from Topeka.

Mixolydian 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm tired of these mother lovin' snakes on this mother lovin' plane.

No seriously, this is obviously because the Baker wetlands is encroaching on their natural asphalt habitat and driving them into town.

vega 9 years, 1 month ago

It seems that someone disposed of a bunch of snakes (two small vipers were caught and this big one is seen). How many I wonder? If someone gets hurt:

Justin Ahrens 9 years, 1 month ago

Best case scenerio - snake envades wetlands and eats all animal life. The wetlands dam is opened to drain wetlands. The dryed up field left behind is burned off to obtain/kill the tresspassing snakes. The wetlands are no longer wet and KDOT finishes K10 bypass

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

After carefully doing the math, correct me if I'm wrong, there have only been three snakes discussed here with two of them captured and the third possibly neutered and de-fanged. And in an environment that it is unlikely to live through the winter of.

The sky is falling..................

vega 9 years, 1 month ago

RoeDapple, is your kid attending South Junior? If not - shut up, pls.

Danielle Brunin 9 years, 1 month ago

Animals are venomous, plants and fungus are poisonous. Right? Still, one of the most fun articles I've seen in a long time

Scott Drummond 9 years, 1 month ago

"Best case scenerio - snake envades wetlands and eats all animal life. The wetlands dam is opened to drain wetlands. The dryed up field left behind is burned off to obtain/kill the tresspassing snakes...."

The fire spreads rapidly to the west laying waste, first to the commercial wasteland along Iowa and then soon to the west Lawrence suburbs. In the destruction that follows there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but little note of the sudden ease of traffic flow along 23rd street. Somewhere the gods snicker.

mom_of_three 9 years, 1 month ago

Now, back to the subject - I am glad South Junior High track is over, as the kids used to run a course behind the school on Haskell grounds. Hate to think of a kid stepping on a snake. LHS was using South for track, too, but it's almost over. Just hope the high school was notified about the snake since they practice at South.

Danielle Brunin 9 years, 1 month ago

I understand the concern, I really do, but come on, this is one snake. At any given time, a kid would have a much better chance of stepping on a copperhead or a rattlesnake that inhabits the area. The real concerns are one, who was stupid enough to raise these snakes, and two, who was even more stupid by dumping them? Not an individual I want around town.

lawdog 9 years, 1 month ago

What about The Baker Wetlands area???????????

Danielle Brunin 9 years, 1 month ago

summerguuurl008, I've got some bad news...

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

vega (Anonymous) says… "RoeDapple, is your kid attending South Junior? If not - shut up, pls."

No vega, my "children" are adults now, although I am and always will be concerned for their safety and well being. My point being, of all the hazards we all face every day, I think I'll watch for planes falling on me out of the sky as I see that as more likely than myself or anybody else in Douglas county getting bitten by a South American Bushmaster. A more real concern would be dangerous animals that are much more common to the area. Rattlesnakes, copperheads, rabid skunks, opossum, coyote. Bobcat, black widow and brown recluse spiders. Even cougar have been spotted by myself and others. Your child faces more danger in his/her school building, your home and all points in between on a daily basis that are somehow accepted as normal by us all. Obsessing over one snake, no matter how dangerous, which would probably prefer to be as far from human contact as possible is counter-productive. Be aware but not paranoid, or the last thing you suspect will be the first thing to get you.

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

Killed a 10" rattler several years ago my wife spotted in the driveway. She was very relieved until I told her it was very, very young and couldn't have traveled far from where it was born.(Rattlesnakes are live born) And that there are usually 12 to 18 born at a time..........

bearded_gnome 9 years, 1 month ago

hmmm: no marioni today! his nigerian psych meds must've run out! mac: If one were to see Marion, and this snake sitting on a rock, which one would you hit with a stick first?

I'd comfort the snake for being stuck on a rock with marioni!

and Roedapple reveals he is watching out for cougars.

do cougars present a particular threat to you Roe? are they especially attracted to you? maybe you should change your aftershave!

seriously, I'm agreeing with Rodentgirl, I'm much more concerned about the nimrod who loosed the snakes than the snakes themselves. snakes are dangerous, but honest. people, dangerous, honest--not so much.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 1 month ago

Baby snakes Late at night is when they come out Baby snakes Sure you know what Im talkin about Pink n wet They make the best kinda pet Baby Baby Snakes

Looked around An theres a couple right near me Baby snakes Maybe I think they can probably hear me Pink n wet Ill take all I can get Baby Baby Sna-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-kes, yeah

They live in a ho-ho-hole (tiny hole) That is usually empty (usually empty, tiny too) They live by a code (dit dit dit dit) That is usually smpte Which stands for Society of motion picture & television engineers Maybe I think That is what keeps them in sync Theyre wet n theyre pink I think Ill give em a, give em a, Give em a drink

Baby sna-a-a-a-a-akesss

---good ol' frank zappa! he'd know how to deal with the snake problem.

vega 9 years, 1 month ago

"bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says… and Roedapple reveals he is watching out for cougars. do cougars present a particular threat to you Roe? are they especially attracted to you? maybe you should change your aftershave!"


Alexander Neighbors 9 years, 1 month ago

I thought they were gona have a picture of a federal prosecutor I know.....

RoeDapple 9 years ago

gonna have to work on that math, Tom (or did the good reverend build the house in 1904?)

RoeDapple 9 years ago

Now that I think of it, I've seen a local 'cougar' wearing leopard skin tights. (extremely dangerous!!)

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

and was she wearing snakeskin shoes???

looks like we need to give you an ugly-stick to fight off the cougars?

vegas, glad you liked that.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

snakeskin shoes and 'blue hair' in a bee hive. Silicone and a 'fake bake", rose tattoo peeking up over back of tights.

Boston_Corbett 9 years ago

What will we do.

The One With All Knowledge And Direction has gone has gone missing.

Oh, Marion?..... A little too much gluten-free grey goose last night? Or is your Google button broken?

BigPrune 9 years ago

Were these snakes kept for some religious purpose or ceremony? I notice the crude painted signs along 31st Street in the swamp look like they are there for some religious reasons. They never used to be there until the SLT controversy. Just wonderin'.....

Katara 9 years ago

BigPrune (Anonymous) says…

Were these snakes kept for some religious purpose or ceremony? I notice the crude painted signs along 31st Street in the swamp look like they are there for some religious reasons. They never used to be there until the SLT controversy. Just wonderin'….. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Serpent handling is not normally part of Native American religions. Serpent handlers generally are Christians. So I'd say probably has nothing to do with the SLT but more with an irresponsible pet owner.

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

oh wow, look! Marion wrote snake in the ljworld searchbox!

he must've found his migerian psych meds again.

Roe, blue hair and the "fake bake" ... now you're really gettin' scarey!

Run Away!

Boston_Corbett 9 years ago


And it's fun to type some other things in the LJW search box...

"Marion and spam" "Marion and Nick Danger" "Marion and David Irving" "Marion and Holocaust"

It's more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

tricky_ricky 9 years ago

First: Snakes are VENOMOUS not poisonous. Venom is injected, e.g. via fangs, and poison is ingested. Second: I think the claim that a Bushmaster was released is total BS. I look at snakes for purchase online everyday and know many breeders nationwide. I have never seen a Bushmaster for sale. It is possible but very unlikely. It is more likely that a Biologist had a specimen escape or that it was a similar representative from the Lachesis family. Here is a link to the venomous reptiles ads from the largest reptile classified ads online, .
Anyone see a Bushmaster? No! You could buy a King Cobra though for about $500! I think it is irresponsible to keep hots unless they are for research or milking. "De-fanging" is a reprehensible and unreliable process. Animals that have had their fangs and Duvernoy's (venom) glands removed are known as "venomoids". It would be the equivalent of buying a dog that has had all it's teeth removed. Just cruel!

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

Boston, yes indeed.

too bad the average reader can't read when Marion went really crazy a couple weeks ago: first I was lying; then I was a secret LJWorld plant and you can't trust the LJWorld if Bearded_gnome is a plant; then, I was an LJWorld insider; and finally I was a supersecret hacker able to see everything--bwhahahahahaha; all according to Marion.

and Marioni, I just turn up Frank Zappa's song and that takes care of the snakes, even the ones that travel the ancient trade routes from Dickinson county.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

"average reader"

Ah, but 007gnome is not your "average reader"!



brujablanco 9 years ago

A cottonmouth, summerguuurl? In Northeast Kansas? I doubt it. Why would you shoot it or any snake? They are very important to ecological balance. Please don't do that.

Jaylee 9 years ago

ok this story is ridiculous... first off, there is no BUSHMASTER on the loose!!

if that photo is a bushmaster, it looks exactly like the rattlesnakes we get around here and this "biologist" did not collect a single bit of tangible information from this snake. He saw it, freaked out, and left to return and find it gone.

so as far as I am concerned, my speculation that he is wrong is just as valid as his speculation that it is a Bushmaster.

and why were the other two "venomous snakes" not identified? were they locals who wandered onto campus or were they BUSHMASTERS as well?

give me a break.

i have a black mamba in my backyard. i can't find it though. can you guys help? oooh no, i don't have a photo or body or ummm anything.... man, you guys wanna come up anyway?

i have no doubts that some fool COULD have purchased a crazy snake and released it, but for the love of god, ANY ACTUAL INFO WOULD BE GREAT!!!

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

This is for Roe so I hope he checks in here. If not someone give him a holler for me. Found it while searching for Bushmaster. Customized Bushmaster AR15 weapon system. Caliber .223 Action single action simiauto Length: barrels 16.5 to 20 inch Capacity 20 The image is at:

They take Visa, thought I could get a Bushmaster to use on a Bushmaster. Well, it's funny to me!

Jaylee 9 years ago

and I am disappointed nobody has yet thought to call Barry White to sing all the snakes to the edge of town!

Jaylee 9 years ago

How can I post photos? Do I have to make a blog?

jumpin_catfish 9 years ago

This is worst than stupid, its a hate crime if done to terrorize or harm the students at Haskell not to mention the kids at South and Broken Arrow. This is unacceptable in our community. the coward(s) that released these snakes, if this story is true, need to be caught and persecuted. My wife and I walked hundreds of miles on the path between South and HINU, I don't think she would walk there now.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

Irish, Way ahead of you, this is identical to mine. (left handed version)

Always room for one more........

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago

I am sick of these motherfarkin snakes on this motherfarkin campus!

(Seriously, 140 comments and no one did a Snakes on a Plane reference?)

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

Roe, the ultimate plug and play! On the are you afraid of snakes poll, someone replied, only on a plane. I saw that movie when it came out and I still don't know what to think of it. I saw it at a matinee and I swear to God I was the only one in the theatre! That should have been a hint.

Jaylee 9 years ago

Multidisciplinary (Anonymous) says…

"jaylee, I've got some bad news…"

it was an old Simpsons episode.

manus_flexibilis 9 years ago

Isn't that what their calling the lady thats running the show over there "bushmaster"? Maybe, the haircut was to resemble GW!

Frederic Gutknecht IV 9 years ago

Just an FYI... Someone correct me if they have better/newer information, but I'm pretty danged sure that it's illegal to kill a timber rattlesnake in Kansas. I wrote KDWP (online) a few years ago. I was thinking about "tastes like chicken" ... and a hat band after avoiding a couple of those beauties with my car as they crossed the road.

Boston_Corbett 9 years ago

"I'm pretty danged sure that it's illegal to kill a timber rattlesnake in Kansas."

When he's wearing blu-blockers, he's in season. (he's probably carrying too)

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