There are two types of venomous rattlesnakes found in Minnesota. And it's springtime when they will soon be emerging from their dens.

The Timber and the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake begin coming out of their winter sleep in late April or early May.

The Minnesota rattlesnake population is mostly found in the southeastern corner of the state in the bluff-covered, wooded counties along and around the Mississippi and other rivers in that area.

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Rattlesnakes prefer not to spend time with humans. But when the rocky bluffs in southeastern Minnesota heat up during the summer the snakes will migrate down to where it's cool.

There are some wonderful state parks in the southeastern corner of Minnesota not far from the borders of Iowa and Wisconsin.

If you are visiting these state parks such as Whitewater, Beaver Creek Valley, or Great River Bluffs you will notice signs instructing you to "beware of rattlesnakes".

Rattle Snake-Getty Thinkstock
Rattle Snake-Getty Thinkstock

The main rule of thumb for a rattlesnake encounter is...if you leave them alone they will leave you alone.

You can also call the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources if need to have a snake removed.

Minnesota's rattlesnake population declined greatly after the state imposed a bounty on the reptile in 1909.

Houston County by La Crosse, Wisconsin alone paid out 5000 snake bounties in 1970. That number dropped to 191 in 1987.

In order to protect the Timber Rattlesnake and give their numbers a chance to rebound it was reclassified as threatened in 1996

So how likely are you to get bitten by a Minnesota Rattlesnake and die? It is not likely at all. Unprovoked rattlesnake bites in Minnesota are very rare.

The last reported rattlesnake bite in Minnesota was in 2011 when a hiker at the Beaver Creek Valley State Park, by Caledonia, had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital in La Crosse.

The last known fatality in Minnesota from a rattlesnake was way back in 1868.

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