Our wet and warm winter set the stage for more greenery, more rodents and rabbits… and more snakes. Snake bites have been on the rise this season for both dogs and people. Snakes are a natural part of the wildlife here in South Carolina and have every right to life as the rest of us. It’s important to recognize that snakes aren’t out to get you or your pets, they attack out of fear or when they feel threatened. There are four main types of poisonous snakes in the U.S. and all four can be found in South Carolina (lucky us!). The four types of venomous snakes are Coral snakes, Copperheads, Cottonmouths and Rattlesnakes. The most common of these in our area is the Copperhead and thus so are Copperhead bites.

Protecting Yourself from Snake Bites

  • There are 7,000 to 8,000 people bit by snakes every year. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your human family from snake bites:
  • Wear closed shoes, preferably boots. Most snake bites occur on the feet or lower legs. Avoid going barefoot and avoid flip flops as much as possible – even in your own yard.
  • Wear long pants. While not as practical in the thick of the hot and humid summer, thicker long pants can help lessen the severity of a snake’s bite if you do have an encounter.
  • Watch your kids, especially toddlers. Young children tend to reach for and grasp anything that interests them. Many children who get bitten by snakes get bitten on the hand or on the face.
  • Use your nose. If you are out and smell cucumbers, stop immediately to locate the snake near you and slowly back away. Copperheads give off a musk to warn away predators that smells like cucumbers to people.

Protecting Your Dog from Snake Bites

The number of dogs bitten by snakes varies greatly from year to year. Here are some tips to protect your furry family from snake bites:

  • Keep dogs on a leash, even in your own yard if snakes have been sighted previously. This can help prevent them from straying too far into areas snakes prefer to hide.
  • Keep dogs away from areas where snakes like to hide such as leaf piles, old downed trees, pine straw, edges of bodies of water and away from snake holes.
  • Check for snake avoidance training classes in your area. These classes teach dogs the smells and sounds of snakes–both of which they can detect better than humans–and what to do when they encounter them.
  • Check with your vet about snake vaccines. Some vets in some areas of the country have vaccines for certain snakes that can help protect your pet in the event a snake bite does happen.

If you, your family or your pet gets bitten by a snake, remain calm and move away from the snake to avoid additional strikes. Be prepared to describe the snake to medical professionals and seek medical attention immediately. If you have spotted one of our venomous snakes in or around your property, call Pee Dee Wildlife Control to discuss having the snakes captured and relocated.