What should you do if you see a snake?
From STAFF REPORTS
Following is information from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources:
What should you do if you spot a snake?
• Do not attempt to handle the snake. Give it the space it needs.
• Remember that snakes are predators that feed on rodents, insects and even other snakes. Most species in Georgia are harmless. There is no need to fear non-venomous snakes.
If a clearly identified venomous snake is in an area where it represents a danger to children or pets, consider contacting Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division for a list of private wildlife removal specialists. Most snake bites occur when a snake is cornered or captured, prompting the animal to defend itself.
Non-venomous snakes such as the scarlet kingsnake and eastern hognose are sometimes confused with their venomous counterparts. Venomous snakes are often identified by their broad, triangular-shaped heads. Yet, many nonvenomous snakes flatten and broaden their heads when threatened and may have color patterns similar to those of venomous species. Use caution around any unidentified snake.
You can reduce the potential for snakes near your home by removing brush, log piles and other habitat that attracts mice, lizards and other animals on which snakes prey.
For more on Georgia’s snakes, go to www.georgiawildlife.org/georgiasnakes , which includes a brochure that Floyd compiled on the state’s venomous snakes. Also check out “Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia” (www.georgiawildlife.org/conservation/reptileamphibianguide , University of Georgia Press), a comprehensive reference edited in part by Jensen and Nongame Program Manager Matt Elliott.
Snakes are part of the Georgia outdoors. Most native snakes are protected by state wildlife laws; the southern hognose snake and eastern indigo snake have additional legal protection as imperiled species.
To help conserve rare, endangered and other nongame wildlife in Georgia, buy or renew a bald eagle or hummingbird license plate or donate directly to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. This fund supports DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section, which receives no state general funds for its mission to conserve Georgia wildlife not legally fished for or hunted, as well as rare plants and natural habitats.
For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.org/conservation .