Worried About Snakes? Here Is What You Need to Know

As the heat of summer approaches, snake sightings are becoming more common.

Kimberly Beaudin, vice president at Arrow Exterminators, said most snakes in Georgia are not poisonous.

“While Georgia has a large population of snakes, most are not poisonous. Of the 41 species of snakes found in Georgia, only six are venomous and only three of those – the Copperhead, Timber Rattlesnake and Pigmy Rattlesnake - are commonly found in our area.” Beaudin said. “It is very rare to have an encounter with a venomous snake anywhere in Georgia.”

Beaudin said some of the commonly found non-venomous snakes in Georgia are the Rat Snake, King Snake, Corn Snake and the Black Racer. She said these are the snakes usually found in gardens, flowerbeds, debris piles and other concealed places.

“As a rule, snakes do not bite unless handled or provoked but the best thing to do if you come across a snake is to leave it alone.,” she said. “Contact a professional to remove the snake from your property and in the unlikely event you are bitten by a snake, you should seek immediate medical attention.”

Beaudin said Arrow Exterminators have licensed professionals who can go out to the home and remove snakes as well as address any wildlife issues that may be acting as their food source. She gave the following tips to avoid a snake encounter.

  • Eliminate their food source by cutting back or getting rid of unnecessary vegetation around the home.
  • Snakes like concealed places so keep wood, leave and debris piles away from the house.
  • Be aware of your surroundings - snakes are most active during the warmer months.
  • Rodents such as rats are food sources for snakes and will attract snakes inside your home. If you see critters inside your home you should seek a wildlife control professional immediately.
  • Keep garbage away from the home since this can attract various food sources for snakes.
  • Do not step on debris piles.

Georgia’s Reptiles and Amphibians has photographs and identifiers for the snakes in Georgia that are venomous. It also gives the following advice in the event of a snake bite: 

  • Remain calm.
  • Wash the bite with soap and water.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet or ice.
  • Do not try to suck the venom from the bite site.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Many wildlife experts believe snakes are misunderstood and dispute the old adage that the only good snake is a dead snake. These are some statistics worth noting from AlabamaHerps.com

  • Of the 45,000 snakebites reported annually in the US, 7,000 – 8,000 are caused by venomous snakes
  • 15 fatalities resulted giving a survival rate of 499 out of 500
  • About 3,000 were when the victim manhandled snake and it acted in defense.
  • 85 percent are below the knew and 50 percent are dry (did not dispense venom) – meaning they were likely defensive
  • Snake bite incidence is higher in males than females – likely due to alcohol and testostorone.
  • Young adults – 18 – 28 is most common group bitten
  • Most occur in southwestern states
  • North Carolina, however, is state with highest incidence 19 per 100,000 people
  • The national average is 4 per 100,000 people.

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