More Snakes Spotted Around the Midlands

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Now that hibernation season is over, more animals are coming out in the warmer weather -- and that includes the 38 species of snakes present in South Carolina.

Herpetologist Will Dillman says in recent weeks his office at the Department of Natural Resources has been busy helping residents identify which of those snakes they've just spotted as they start to become more active.

"We have 38 species of snakes in South Carolina, only six of which are venomous, only three of which are somewhat common so encountering a venomous snake is really pretty rare," said Dillman.

One of the three common venomous snakes is the Copperhead, and though Dillman says it's rare, a Columbia parking meter monitor was recently bitten while one on the job.

City officials say the employee was working by Washington and Sumter Streets last Tuesday when she was bit, and is expected to be okay after receiving anti-venom.

While it's likely that snake was just passing through on the way to its nest, Dillman says there are ways to make sure you're not giving an unwanted snake a place to live.

"Things you can do to minimize the attractiveness of your yard is you're going to want to keep your grass cut short, if you have any debris piles, trash, cinder-blocks, lumber, plywood, tin anything like tarps laying flat on the ground, get those up off the ground," said Dillman.

Experts say most bites happen when people try to move or kill snakes so leave them alone if you do spot one. Dillman says rather than put yourself at risk, try to find the source of the problem.

"If you have snakes around your home, they're there for a reason and that's probably because there's food there or shelter," said Dillman. "Until you address those things, you're not really doing anything by removing a snake from the property."

If you happen to get bit, DNR says it's better to be safe than sorry and get checked out to make sure it's not one of the venomous six.

Dillman says there's also an online database to help familiarize yourself with the venomous snakes so you can easily spot the difference.

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