Don't Eat The Yellow Snow... it's a myth!

Marjory Wildcraft
Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

I grew up in Florida where "snow" is a concept on a Christmas card.

And, before frost free refidgerators, sometimes what kind of looked like snow accumulated in the freezer.

The biggest lesson I had been taught (in case I ever did get to see snow) was "don't eat the yellow snow" which made a ton of sense.

Well, actually it did snow once or twice when I was very young - still in grade school - it even lightly dusted Miami one time! Wow.

So now I'm in Colorado for a bit - and everything is so sparkling white, all the trees are frosted, and chimneys wafting out the delightful smell of wood smoke. There is a thick layer of fluffy white, about a foot deep, everywhere.

And I recalled that wisdome of the yellow snow thing.

So I tried it out.

BTW, my definition of a good yard is one that is big enough and private enough you can pee in it without disturbing the peace.

Anyway, sigh, I have to say I was very disappointed. The snow just melted. It doesn't turn the snow yellow at all.

There is no way you can possibly eat yellow snow.

Dang, another childhood myth busted. Guess I'll put yellow snow along with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.

I guess the good news is... I won't ever have to worry about eating yellow snow! LOL



  • Leslie Carl
    Leslie Carl Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    Good one Marjory! 😅

    The warning I remember being told about eating snow was, not to eat any of the first snow of the season, because it would be full of air pollution chemicals that it cleaned out of the air. The more often and deeper the snow fell, the cleaner it would be. I spent a number of my growing up years in the mountains of Utah. The first 2 years was in Provo, which at that time was receiving an atrocious amount of pollution from Geneva Steel Mill. So the warning was understandable.

    I didn't hear the one about the yellow snow until we moved to our ranch in Central Utah. Funny thing is... I didn't get it at first. 🤔

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I grew up in Wisconsin and loved to eat the white snow. That is, until the local newspaper had a magnified photo of a patch of snow, complete with the fleas that live in it.

    Now I will only lick freshly fallen snow that lands on my hand.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We used to make the best snow ice cream when I was a kid. And now that I live in snow country, I could probably make it again.

    But my little dog does leave yellow spots in the yard, and I'm not so keen on it anymore. Especially after a new snow covers up the last one!

    I wonder if it's a question of volume? Sammy is only 9 or 10 pounds...

  • Iris Weaver
    Iris Weaver Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    I have seen yellow snow. I think it tends to happen when snow has been compacted and built up, and then peed on by the passing dogs.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    Not a myth in my area @Marjory Wildcraft ! I have seen lots of yellow snow in my time but I am north of 52°, so a lot colder than where you are.

    @Mary Linda Bittle My kids have really good memories of us making snow ice cream together. Something to look forward to on those days when we would get several inches of fresh powder. I should make some at the next opportunity.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    True story - our dogs left yellow snow. I lived in Kansas for a few years and the horses made yellow snow too.

    I think @Marjory Wildcraft is drinking way too much water 😄

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    I saw plenty of yellow snow growing up in Michigan. We definitely avoided it. I loved to make snow ice cream with our kids, though. When we had a big snowstorm coming in, we would put my largest stainless steel mixing bowl on the picnic table. It would fill with plenty of snow for a good batch of ice cream.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,518 admin

    I was first introduced to the snow fleas when I was playing one day. I went under a drift's overhang (not smart, I know) and relaxed there a bit since it was not windy underneath. When I opened my eyes, I saw that it was black! I got out of there really fast!

    When I asked my dad if what I saw was true, he told me of a day when he walked back home from school. He said that as soon as he lifted his foot, that his track was black with those bugs. For a girl that was not a fan of bugs, that was fascinatingly horrible!

    As far as yellow snow, yep...we have many causes here. Dogs to cows to horses... We were told about yellow snow at a very early age and learned to not even consider eating it.

    As @Leslie Carl mentioned, the snow (and rain) does clean the air. I always wondered why a windshield or window could look dirty after a rain/melted snow. I am sure that many here are aware, but some might not be. In order for either to happen, that moisture has to collect around something. Within each snowflake or raindrop, there is a little speck of dust of whatever origin. It is an interesting fact.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    As much as I would like for this to be a myth, we do, indeed, have patches of yellow snow in our yard (courtesy our dogs) right this very minute. So ... don't eat the yellow snow! :D

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭

    Yellow snow, here in MN is from pee from animals and humans. Do not eat snow from those specific areas. White snow when it’s falling is good. Fresh snow is good. After you’ve shoveled, not recommended for eating. As someone stated, dig into the snow a little, for the fluffier snow to eat a handful, make ice cones, ice cream, or the like. I prefer the fresh white snow, a lick. Enjoy with love

  • Johanna
    Johanna Posts: 8 ✭✭✭

    In Canada yellow snow exists. We get plenty of snow so although there is a bit of melt, the pee turns the remaining snow yellow. There are parasites in snow and pee so you should boil it before drinking it. The yellow could be a gift from Jack rabbits that carry so many parasites and diseases that nobody eats them anymore.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    Well, I guess my snow wasn't deep enough! It just melted all the way down to the ground.

    But I've read everyones comments, and there must be yellow snow out there... which I will continue to avoid LOL

    @Johanna are there really parasites in snow? And the Jack rabbits are really that diseased?

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    OMG!!! snow fleas? this is too much! LOL

    Yikes, I guess this really is a thing... but how in the heck do these tiny guys live?

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,111 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've seen lots of yellow snow, but never any snow fleas, maybe to cold here in Alaska.

    @Marjory Wildcraft What part of Florida were you in. I spent many years just outside of Ocala in Central FL.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,518 admin

    @Marjory Wildcraft Here is the answer to your questions:

    Another site I found said that the can turn the snow black or even blue or YELLOW. The site says that they can be yellow although I have never seen yellow ones ( is that for bring this discussion back around).

    I like how they can spring up and over but have no way to direct themselves. That is funny! It reminds me of those little circular pop toys.

    There is no need to be concerned about them (unless you are icked out by billions of bugs in one place and put yourself in the position I put myself in as a kid). They are beneficial insects that don't infest houses, nor bite animals or people. They improve your soil! They are allies.

    I think you just met some new friends.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    I had never heard of snow fleas and was quite disturbed by the video, but I can promise that when it snows again in Ohio I will be checking it out for the little critters! We do get the dreaded "yellow" snow when animals urinate, so yep we say "don't eat the yellow snow!"

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    If it's cold enough, I think the snow turns yellow because it freezes really fast.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,518 admin

    @figsagee I'm curious what you based your statement on. Maybe you have experienced something that I haven't...where are you from?

    I am from the Canadian prairies, where it can get quite cold (-40 to -50°C), and that doesn't happen here. In pictures that I have seen from further north, where -60 can happen, the snow that has settled or is falling is still white in all below freezing temps.

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    I claim no special knowledge! I have lived several decades where the winter temps get down to 20 or 30 below zero (F). But I haven't done much peeing in the snow! I have seen yellow snow and others on here say they have seen yellow snow, so I'm speculating that sometimes it's so cold that the pee doesn't totally melt the snow and it stays yellow. 🤔

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    You all are blowing mymind! - 60 degrees.... does that really exist???

    Pee probably freezes in mid stream!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,518 admin
    edited January 2020

    @figsagee Oh! 🤣 Now I am following. I just read your post differently than you meant it. I meant no harm, just wanted some clarification because I was a bit confused.


    @Marjory Wildcraft It certainly does! I am watching a show about large ships delivering "sea lift" cargo to the north (Nunavut, in this case) before full freeze up, and the one woman who lived in the small community of Chesterfield was talking about temperatures going down to -60. Somehow I doubt anyone is going to bare anything to prove yellow snow at -60. They would have instant frostbite. That wouldn't be fun.

    It does make me wonder what they did years ago before they built houses there. At -60, you would still need to find relief somewhere. I wonder if they had an igloo-type outhouse? I have no idea.

  • alindsay22
    alindsay22 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    Wouldn't yellow snow depend on hydration level of the person/animal making the yellow snow? Yellow snow should theoretically come from someone very dehydrated. Just a thought...

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    @alindsay22 You are right about urine being much darker in colour when you are dehydrated however, I have observed that even well hydrated individuals leave yellow traces in the snow. This is from many, many years of observation in a variety of snow conditions (from very wet, slushy snow to fine dry powder) at most possible winter temperatures (to -55°F).

    @Marjory Wildcraft It doesn't usually get that cold here anymore (climate change and all) but it has been -60° and colder in my area in the past. I can tell you it is not pleasant peeing at those temps. You keep the toilet seat (or foamy ring) in the house and take it out with you when you go.

  • Jillouise
    Jillouise Posts: 1 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2020

    Hi Marjory and everyone! Yellow snow is very real. I grew up in NYC, which was plagued with Y.S. every winter. Later on I lived in New Hampshire for years, where Y.S. also existed, although, thankfully, much less of it. . I was wisely educated by Frank Zappa’s song to “Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that yellow snow!”, so I was prepared. In case you have never heard this Zappa song, I will provide a link for your listening enjoyment and edification.

    A side note: Btw, my first concert happened to be Frank Zappa at the Becaon Theater, on Broadway (I won free tickets and didn’t really want to go) ...and coincidentally, at my high school Graduation, my class chose a Zappa song for us to walk up to the stage 🤣.

    Enjoy! (This is the short version)

    xoxo Jill

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    @Marjory Wildcraft

    You commented "-60. Does that really exist?"

    Yesterday a weather station about 100 miles from me (as the crow flies) set a new January 14th record low. -48.8C which works out to -55.6F so very close to the -60 mark. That was from an official government weather station, so I imagine there were pockets in the area where it was even colder. Fortunately only -39C at my house. For reference, -40 is where the two thermometer, F & C, are the same.

    Brrrrr! doesn't come close no matter how many rrr's you add to it.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,518 admin
    edited January 2020

    @torey That was probably under the same extreme cold warning we had. It covered most of Manitoba, all of Saskatchewan & Alberta, and some northern parts of Ontario, into parts of BC, Northwest Territories & the Yukon. Yep...a Canadian event. Pretty interesting.

    And to top it off, we drove 45 min to a hockey game (we were given tickets). It was my first hockey game ever. Haha I never thought that I would ever go to one. It is not my interest, but it was okay. MB beat BC. 🙃

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    @Laurie We are warming up a bit. Only -20C here today. We had wind chills down to -55C (-67F) over the previous couple of days when the thermometer was so low. Parts of BC had hurricane force winds and Highway 1 was closed due to blowing snow several times. Sure glad I didn't have to do much outside other than grab more wood to keep the fires stoked! Hard to believe they are predicting +3C (37.4F) by Monday.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Laurie @torey You are a hardy bunch, especially if you are using wood stoves. The best to you and keep drinking the warm tea.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    Hi @Jillouise loved that song!

    Maybe that is where Floridians learn about yellow snow! LOL

  • lmrebert
    lmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft snow fleas... got me thinking can we add a barf emoji to the icons lol🤮🤢