Although many people live by the adage of “the only good snake is a dead snake”, we at AnimalPlex want to help dispel that expression, and replace it with some valuable information.
With birds of prey populations declining through out the United States, a healthy snake population is crucial to maintain the wild rodent population. Rats and mice carry a wide variety of diseases and reproduce very quickly, but thanks to our slithering friends, their numbers are kept at bay.
But, we get it… when that snake shows up in your yard or garage, the first instinct is to panic. But, instead of panic, it is more beneficial to the environment and to wildlife to evaluate the situation. Clearly, we do not want to mess around with venomous snakes. But we do advise the release of non venomous snakes- so they can continue to do their job of keeping away rodents and maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.
So, how to tell if your snake is venomous?
Other than the coral snake, all venomous snakes in the United States are pit vipers. These include many types of rattlesnakes, the cotton mouth, and the copper head snake. These species of snakes all
- have fat heads-are large bodied
- have pupils with slits
- and if it is a rattle snake, it will also clearly, rattle.
- if it is a coral snake- the colors will be a dead give away (red, yellow, and black)
Ninety Nine percent of snakes that you may see will be of a non venomous variety.
-If it’s a small snake, it is of a non venomous species.
If you come in contact with a venomous snake, do not attempt to catch it. Call animal control and let them remove the snake from your residence. If out in the wild, leave the snake alone to go about its business.
What do I do if I am bitten by a snake?
If you are bitten by a non-venomous snake, wash the area careful and be cautious to make sure there is no infection.
If you are bitten by a venomous snake, DO NOT cut or suck on the wound, ice the wound, or apply any sort of tourniquet in an attempt to contain the infection. This can cause more harm.
Instead, it is best to remain calm, kept the area below chest level, and keep an eye on your vitals. Call 911 immediately to request medical assistance. Do not attempt to capture the snake for the purpose of identification. It is not necessary as all antivenin is the same, and you will only risk further injury and faster spread of infection.
I don’t want to mess with ANY snakes- how can I just avoid them all together?
Snakes, like all creatures, require shelter, water, and food for survival. If you make that difficult for them, they’ll look for another place to call home.
- Make sure there are no hiding places, like holes, under your house’s foundation.
- Keep yards cut back so there is less room to hide
- Keep trash and debris picked up
- Keep compost containers closed tightly
Many of these tips are actually tips to keep rodents away. Keep the rats away, and the snakes won’t come to play.
Most importantly, safety is first. First for our human friends, but also for our animal friends. Even if you do not like snakes, do not want to see a snake, or do not want to handle a snake, please keep in mind that snakes and other slithering critters are an important part of a balanced ecosystem. Needlessly killing them will do humans no benefit, and instead help facilitate disease carrying rodents.
If you have any questions about what to do, do not hesitate to call your local animal control officers. They are trained and prepared to handle all types of situations and will have the proper tools to safely remove any unwanted guests from your home.