As the weather begins to warm up and springtime begins in South Carolina, our local snake population will be waking up from hibernation. While snake sightings are most common from April through October, the hot-cold-hot-cold weather pattern we’ve been experiencing can have some snakes up and about earlier in the season than usual. Now is the time to take precautions (like the ones on our list) to reduce the chance of an unpleasant encounter of the slithering kind.
- Move woodpiles and rock piles away from your home. Keeping piles of wood or stone on the far edge of your property away from your home and other structures keeps this tempting resting place for snakes from being too close for comfort. Also, mice and other critters snakes like to eat tend to find woodpiles cozy, too.
- Wear closed shoes when going outside after dark. When the temperature drops at night, snakes often relocate to paved areas such as driveways. The residual heat of the concrete from the daytime helps them stay warm during chilly nights. Wearing closed shoes won’t completely prevent being bitten in the foot but a full shoe offers far more protection than flip-flops.
- Inspect weather-stripping on doors, seals on the bottom of garage doors and other barriers (seals around pipe fixtures and so on) for holes or damage that could provide a way in for a snake in search of warmth. If you notice any gaps, damage, holes or cracking, now is the time to replace the weather-stripping, seals and wildlife protection screens around the entry points to your home.
- Maintain your yard and garden areas. Keep grass cut short, remove weeds, keep mulch layers as thin as possible and trim back overgrown bushes and shrubs. The less hiding places in your yard for snakes to take refuge in, the less attractive your yard will be.
- Keep an ear and an eye out. While some of our reptile residents have rattles or can hiss or make other noise, not all of them do. Review common snake species in our area (there are 21 species common to the majority of our state), particularly making note of the venomous snakes so you can provide this information to emergency services if you are bitten. Venomous species in our area include Eastern Coral Snake, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Canebrake Rattlesnake, Pigmy Rattlesnake, Cottonmouth (also called a Water Moccasin) and Copperhead. However, keep in mind that the young or juvenile of some snake species can look very different from the adults.
It’s very important to remember to never handle snakes or other wildlife. If you have a close encounter, slowly back away from the snake as quietly as possible and leave the area, if you can. If you have any questions about snakes or need to have a snake removed, call Pee Dee Wildlife.