Snake activity increases with warmer weather

Published 5:31 pm Friday, June 25, 2021

As the weather gets warmer, venomous and nonvenomous snakes alike will begin to appear throughout Beaufort County

According to the Carolina Herp Atlas, 25 different species of snakes have been observed in recent years across Beaufort County, with dangerous species like the Timber Rattlesnake having a documented sighting within the past two weeks. The Carolina Herp Atlas is a specialized reporting tool developed by the Davidson College Herpetology Laboratory and Davidson College Information Technology Services as a way of tracking and providing data on the distribution of reptiles and amphibians throughout the Carolinas. 

According to the NCWRC, only six of the 38 snake species native to North Carolina are venomous. These six include the Copperhead, the Eastern Coral Snake, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Pigmy Rattlesnake, the Timber Rattlesnake and the Cottonmouth. Of these six, only the Eastern Coral Snake and the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake have not been reported in Beaufort County in recent years. 

“Whatever you do, don’t try to kill a snake — the majority of bites occur when people try to kill a snake or pick it up,” said Jeff Hall, a wildlife diversity biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission. “While it can be startling to encounter a snake in your backyard, it’s important to remember that most of the snakes people see in their yards are harmless and non-venomous.” 

The NCWRC offers these tips to homeowners as a way of discouraging snakes from taking up residence in and around residential properties:

  • Clean up clutter – remove hiding places like piles of rocks, wood and other debris that attract rodents and snakes.
  • Keep the lawn mowed. Snakes and their rodent prey prefer tall grasses where they can hide. They’re also easier to spot in shorter grass.
  • Discourage snakes from entering your home by closing gaps and holes, repairing damage to siding and the foundation, and sealing openings under doors, windows and around water pipes.
  • If you see a snake in your yard, encourage it to move along by spraying it with a garden hose. The spray of water from the hose should get the snake moving and on its way.

For more information about the snakes native to Beaufort County, call the NCWRC’s Wildlife Helpline toll-free at 866-318-2401.