Snakes – They are on the prowl, hunting water
By JOHN A. WINTERS
Of all God’s creatures, there is one species where there is no middle ground.
They are either the “coolest” things around or the epitome of evil. They are revered as sacred in some circles; they can make a grown man freak out.
One would think snakes would only be found out in the woods around the Coweta area. One would be mistaken.
Just last week the Newnan Fire Department was called out to a residence on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Once there, they were greeted by a snake, a very large snake.
Apparently, the snake had climbed a tree to get a squirrel and both fell down onto the driveway, said Sgt. Bart Henson with the fire department.
“It (the squirrel) was about half eaten and so we just let the snake finish dinner,” Henson said. “Afterward we caught it and relocated it.”
The city’s fire department gets a few calls every month for snake removal. All their fire trucks are equipped with snake sticks.
Covering the more rural areas, the Coweta County Fire Department gets a few more calls — about six to eight every week, according to Deputy Chief Todd Moore.
“We find them in the back yards, under the porches – people are encroaching on their habitat,” Moore said. “They are just trying to find water.”
The deputy chief said most of the snakes his department captures are non-venomous, although they have gotten a few copperheads, a rare rattler and a couple of water moccasins. Like the city, all county fire trucks are equipped with snake sticks.
“To me, they’re all venomous,” Moore joked.
He’s not alone.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, there are 43 species of snakes in the state, of which only six are venomous. So your odds are good.
However, before you get the shovel out, the DNR says it’s illegal to kill non-venomous snakes. And unless you’re willing to move the snake yourself, or not sure whether it’s poisonous or not, it’s best to call in the experts.
“We’ve sort of become the catch-all on this,” Moore said. “But if there are kids around and someone sees a snake, safety is the most important thing.”
According to the Associated Press, more than 100 people have already been attacked by poisonous snakes in the metro Atlanta area this year. Officials say that about 400 Georgians are treated for snake bites each year. Already this year, 120 state residents have been treated for bites.
Dr. Gaylord Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center, says that rate is higher than it typically is, the Associated Press reported. The center usually begins to get reports of snake bites around March 1. Lopez says that this year, the first bite was in January.