Backyard rattlesnake sightings have Winona residents rattled

People say they’ve been seeing more rattlesnakes in Winona and it has some residents concerned.

Monday, the city held a meeting to talk about the snakes after experts say they’ve seen a cluster of sightings in the area.

Luckily, there have been no reported bites, but it’s still not something anyone wants to see slithering in their backyard.

Just last week, Julie Boelter says she took cell phone videos and pictures of four venomous timber rattlers in her Winona yard.

“I was push mowing, I see something out of the corner of my eye, and I see a snake on a woodpile,” Boelter said.

She said someone helped her take most of the snakes away, but not all of them are gone.

“They like wood, they like railroad ties, they like dirt with wood and that’s what I have,” Boelter said. “I have the perfect setup I need to get rid of now.”

Boelter isn’t alone, either. Winona Police posted a notice on Facebook about the timber rattler encounters. Then, they brought in the DNR to help neighbors look for answers about the snake sightings.

“We had that really hot spell,” said Jaime Edwards, of the MnDNR. “Snakes are coming down from the bluffs to open area and that’s where people live.”

Experts say neighbors like Boelter are supposed to call them and to have the threatened snake species removed.

“They are protected by law, so technically, a person can’t kill them,” Boelter said.

DNR experts say the timber rattler is spotted as far north as Red Wing, but not in the Twin Cities.