Snakes making more appearances in SC as temperatures warm up

Snakes making more appearances in SC as temperatures warm up
Published: May. 16, 2018 at 11:53 AM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2018 at 3:23 PM EDT
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(WIS) - The temperatures are going up, it's starting to rain more and what does all that mean? Snakes.

Scott Pfaff, Curator of Herpetology at Riverbanks Zoo talked about our slithery friends that you'll need to watch out for as the weather changes.

"Snakes are what we call cold-blooded animals. They're ectothermic that means they don't produce their own body heat. They have to absorb it from the surrounding environment. During the winter when it's cold, snakes aren't active. They have to be underground below the frost line, so this time of year when the weather warms up, then animals like this become more active," said Pfaff.

"They're going to hide in wood piles under loose tarps in your backyard, or perhaps places of plywood that are laying around," Pfaff said. "They like cover, so if they are living in your backyard then they are going to be hiding, they're not going to be laying out in the open so you can see them."

DNR says that there are 38 snake species in South Carolina. Six of the 38 snake species are venomous. The prominent venomous snake in the Midlands area is the Copperhead.

"Nonvenomous snakes like the Rat snake tend to be long and thin like a spaghetti noodle. So if you see a long and thin snake, it's probably not venomous," Pfaff said. "There are some other features that differentiate them too. Our Pit vipers have elliptical pupils like a cat. The nonvenomous snakes have a round pupil. The problem with identifying snakes that way is that you have to get very close to them to see what their pupil looks like"

The five others in the state are: Diamond, Pigmy, and Timber Rattle snakes, Cotton mouths, and coral snakes.

"If you were bit by a venomous snake, for instance, a Copperhead, you're going to know right away because it's going to really hurt. It's going to feel like a giant bee sting and you can forget about any of the first aid measures that we were taught when we were kids," Pfaff said. "We like to say that the best set of first-aid kit for a snakebite is a set of car keys. Get in your car and go to the hospital, that's the only place to receive effective treatment for a venomous snake bite."

Best advice is to study which ones that live in your area, learn what they look like and stay away. Respect all snakes that you come across, so that bites don't happen.

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