I was lucky enough to go to college in Winona nestled right on the Mississippi river surrounded by beautiful bluffs, but in those bluffs are rattlesnakes. I remember when I first moved into town a bunch of my friends and I decided to go venture into the bluffs and the sandstone caves right off of campus. We were warned by locals to look out for rattlesnakes and we honestly thought they were kidding. Of course take a kid from Milwaukee and others from Chicago who were naive enough to think they only lived in the desert. Fortunately we did not see any or I probably would not be sitting here today, I hate snakes and am scared to death of them.

So fast forward to the present day, according to (WCCO)cbslocal.com the Winona police department has been getting an average of 2 calls per week since late June about rattlesnakes in the bluffs area known as Garvin Heights. Now a part of this bluff area has a flat lookout point that is very popular for students, tourists and locals alike to get a panoramic view of the city below, along with many houses that are scattered up high into the bluffs, it is more than people on hikes in the area.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Supervisor Jamie Edwards said "One of the things that people who live in the bluffs have are retaining walls with vegetation on it, and that can be a really attractive area. [Rattlesnakes] can cool off by being on the vegetation, but also heat up by being on the retaining wall.” Edwards also said that a lot of people look at the rattle on the snake as a threat, but it is actually a warning to whoever or whatever is approaching them.

The best thing that you can do if you come upon a rattlesnake is to leave them alone and they will leave you alone. So if you ever happen to pass through Winona and take a drive up to Garvin Heights watch your step and just be aware that they so exist in that area.


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