A long slender reptilian may soon have the honor of slithering forward as an official state symbol in the Land of Lincoln. State Senator Dale Fowler has passed legislation through the Senate, inspired by a civic-minded young constituent, to establish the Eastern Milk Snake as the official State Snake of the State of Illinois.
“I am happy to carry this legislation over from the House and sponsor a bill that will not only establish an official state snake but bring to life the vision of an 11-year-old boy from southern Illinois who took the initiative in making sure our state indeed had an official snake,” said Senator Fowler.
The Eastern Milk Snake is common to central regions of the country and its hallmark is the reddish dorsal scales with black edges. The snake averages 24-36” in length, is non-poisonous, and is generally not a threat unless provoked or cornered.
“Some reasons snakes benefit our society is that they are the best natural pest control, eating both rodents and invertebrates that eat our crops and can carry and cause diseases,” said 11-year-old constituent Gentry Heiple.
The initiative stems from a constituent response from State Representative Dave Severin who originally filed House Bill 4821 this past January.
“While I know there is still plenty of work to be done in Springfield for the remaining days of the spring legislative session, it’s nice to see Senators from both sides of the aisles, have a little fun with a bill and grant Gentry with his wish of designating an official state snake,” said Fowler.
There are at least 28 designations under the State Designations Act like the Monarch Butterfly as the State Insect, White Oak as the State Tree, and Pumpkin Pie as the State Pie.