I never realized snakes in Colorado are protected by law.

For those that don't know me that well, let me offer full disclosure. I don't like snakes. In fact, it's the one thing I have in common with Indiana Jones. We both hate snakes. (see movie clip below)

Having said that, I feel compelled to share my recent revelation that most snakes in Colorado are classified as nongame wildlife and protected by law. I always thought that killing a snake was no big deal. While it's not going to send you to jail it could result in a fine.

Most Colorado snakes are harmless to humans and actually benefit us by eating insects and rodents. However, we do have three species of rattlesnakes that could be deadly. Is it okay to kill a rattlesnake before it kills you? The qualified answer is 'yes.'

Rattlesnakes in Colorado may be killed legally if they pose a threat to your life or your property. If you are on a hiking trail, quite often it is possible to back away from the snake or move past it without incident. However, if you encounter a rattlesnake near your home or campsite, that is a completely different story. To me, that definitely sounds like a threat and the snake can legally be disposed of.

To go out randomly go out and intentionally seek out rattlers is clearly against the law. We used to do more than 40 years ago west of Akron to collect the rattles. However, I can honestly say as an 8 or 9-year-old I never killed a rattlesnake.

Hunting snakes is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine and some hunting license suspension points. It's best to avoid killing snakes if it all possible.

[CPW]