GEORGIA (WFXG) - From the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resouces Division,
As spring fades into summer, the number of snake-related calls and emails go up. But most center on two questions: What species is this and what do I do with it?
"Only every once in a while is it a venomous snake," said Jensen, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and co-author of "Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia."
Whether it's a venomous snake is, of course, the concern or fear underlying most of the questions. Chances are it's not, Jensen said. Only six of the 46 species native to Georgia are venomous and only one of those – the copperhead – usually thrives in suburban areas, where the majority of Georgians live.
So what to do if you spot a snake?
- Try to identify it from a distance. Resources such as www.georgiawildlife.com/georgiasnakes, which includes DNR’s “Venomous Snakes of Georgia” brochure, can help.
- Do not try to handle the snake. Give it the space it needs.
- Remember that snakes are predators that feed on rodents, insects and even other snakes. There is no need to fear non-venomous snakes. Native non-venomous species are protected by state law, and the eastern indigo is federally protected as an imperiled species.
- If a clearly identified venomous snake is in an area where it represents a danger to people or pets, contact DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division for a list of private wildlife removal specialists. Most snake bites occur when a snake is cornered or captured, prompting it to defend itself.
To reduce the potential for snakes near your home, remove brush, log piles and other habitat features that attract mice, lizards and other animals on which snakes prey.