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June 23, 2008

Snakes more active in warmer weather

Human encroachment on wildlife habitat is the number one threat to wildlife populations worldwide and snakes are no different.

Snakes are most active in the spring and early summer. They are emerging from their wintering burrows (hibernation) and are seeking food and it’s also the mating season. Human snake encounters will diminish, as we get later into summer and the weather warms, but they're still present.
           
If a snake enters your home or property and you believe you need professional assistance, you may contact one of the many Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators in South Carolina. These are private contractors who provide a service for a fee.

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"Snakes are our friends. Many species have a voracious appetite for small rodents, rats and mice. These rodents destroy food supplies and spread disease," said DNR herpetologist Steve Bennett. "In fact the species most commonly found around people’s homes, the rat snake, is probably there looking for mice and rats."

If you encounter a snake, stay away from it and move in the opposing direction. Given the chance, snakes will go out of their way to avoid any interaction with people.

Homeowners can take steps to minimize the occurrence of snake encounters on their property. Keep the grass and other vegetation mowed or cut-back, eliminate any accumulation of trash, debris, rocks, decaying wood piles, etc, that snakes would find as suitable habitat, cover or shelter.

Venomous snakes of Georgia and South Carolina pose little threat to humans who learn to observe them but otherwise leave them alone. Also, as many as half of all bites by venomous snakes are mild or "dry" bites in which little or no venom is injected.

More than half of U.S. snakebite victims were bitten while handling the snake, and more than two-thirds saw the snake before being bitten, but attempted to kill, capture, or harass it. Or they failed to move away or maintain a safe distance. Exercising good judgment in most of these situations would have easily prevented snakebite.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.


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