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Common Snake Species in the Carolinas


Nelon-Cole Pest Control Blog | Common Snake Species in the Carolinas

It is hard to believe, but as of this writing (February) the spring season is nearly upon us. They say that in the Carolinas, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. In the transitional time that is coming up, many of the insects and wildlife that stayed hidden during the winter will come out, and come out hungry. One of the more common wildlife problems that we see here in the Carolinas are the various species of snakes that we find around our homes and gardens. Nelon-Cole wants to keep you educated on what types of snakes you are likely to see, what dangers they pose, and how we help keep your property snake-free.


BLACK SNAKE NON-VENOMOUS

Black Snake | Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control of the Carolinas

Black snakes are a type of non-venomous snake that are commonly found in all parts of the Carolinas. They are called black snakes because of their distinctive black color, which sets them apart from other types of snakes. Black snakes are often referred to as "rat snakes" because of their habit of feeding on mice and other rodents. Adult black snakes can be large, averaging between 4 and 6 feet in length. Some species can grow up to 8 feet long. Black snakes have shiny, smooth scales that give them a sleek appearance.


Black snakes are active during the day and are primarily terrestrial. They are excellent climbers and can often be found in trees or on rocky outcrops. When threatened, black snakes will often try to escape, but they are capable of defending themselves if necessary. Black snakes play an important part in many ecosystems, particularly in controlling rodent populations. For this reason, many farm and barn owners in the Carolinas will go out of their way to save black snakes and deposit them in barns and other areas that may otherwise attract rodents. Largely harmless to people unless threatened, you should let a Nelon-Cole professional carefully remove these snakes from the property.


COPPERHEAD

VENOMOUS

Copperhead Snake | Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control of the Carolinas

Copperhead snakes are a venomous species of snake found in almost all parts of the Carolinas. They are known for their distinctive copper-colored heads, which give them their name. Copperhead snakes are a relatively small species of snake, with mature adults measuring between 2 and 3 feet in length. They are heavy-bodied, with thick necks and broad, triangular heads. Their coloration varies depending on the region in which they are found, but they are usually tan or brown with dark, hourglass-shaped bands that run down their bodies.


Copperhead snakes are primarily active during the day, but they can also be active at night during the warmer months. They are generally shy and will try to avoid humans and other animals. However, they are also known to be aggressive if they feel threatened or cornered. Copperhead snakes are ambush predators, waiting patiently for prey to come within striking distance. They primarily feed on rodents, but they will also eat other small animals, such as frogs and lizards. Copperhead snakes are a fascinating but potentially dangerous species of snake. They are important members of many ecosystems, playing a key role in controlling rodent populations. While they are venomous and should be respected, they are generally not aggressive and will only bite if they feel threatened.


If you encounter what you believe to be a Copperhead snake on your property, call Nelon-Cole immediately for a qualified technician to both positively identify the species and safely remove the snake.


CORN SNAKE

NON-VENOMOUS

Corn Snake | Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control of the Carolinas

Young corn snakes can often be confused with young Copperhead snakes, mainly due to their skin color. But rest assured that the corn snake is not only non-venomous, but it one of the more docile species toward humans. Corn snakes are one of the most popular species of pet snakes, due to their size, docile nature, and ease of care. They are slender, with an average length of 4-6 feet for adults, but can grow up to 7 feet. They have a distinctive pattern of red, orange, and brown blotches on a yellow or cream-colored background, giving them the appearance of Indian corn, which is where their name comes from.


Some corn snakes also have black or gray stripes, adding to their striking appearance. They have a flat head and round pupils, unlike venomous snakes with slit pupils. They are excellent climbers and can be found in trees, bushes, and other vegetation. Corn snakes are carnivores and primarily feed on rodents, such as mice and rats. Corn snakes are known for their ability to eat prey much larger than their head size. They do this by dislocating their jaws and stretching their skin to accommodate the prey. In the wild, corn snakes play an essential role in controlling rodent populations, which can cause significant crop damage. Captive corn snakes that are kept as pets can have a lifespan of 15-20 years in captivity if properly cared for.


While often confused for Copperhead snakes, a trained Nelon-Cole professional can easily make this distinction, and should be called for a positive identification.


KING SNAKE

NON-VENOMOUS

King Snake | Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control of the Carolinas

Like the corn snake, the king snake is a very common pet among snake lovers for their docile nature and striking colors. But while non-venomous and often not a threat to humans, this snake is also known as the 'snake eater' for being aggressive toward other snake species. King snakes are a medium-sized species of snake that can grow up to 4-6 feet in length. They are known for their distinct and colorful banding patterns that run the length of their bodies, consisting of black, white, and brown or red coloration.


King snakes have a triangular head with a blunt nose, and their eyes are relatively large, with round pupils. They are adept climbers and can be found in trees, bushes, and other vegetation. King snakes are carnivores and primarily feed on other snakes, lizards, rodents, and birds. In captivity, frozen-thawed prey is recommended to avoid injury to the snake during feeding. They are known for their ability to eat venomous snakes, including rattlesnakes and copperheads. They are immune to their venom, which allows them to consume these dangerous prey items without harm to themselves.


King snakes are known for their impressive defense mechanism, where they will coil their bodies and vibrate their tails, mimicking the sound of a rattlesnake. This is a natural defense mechanism to scare off predators. This truly impressive snake species should be approached carefully by a trained professional and removed from the property.


EASTERN CORAL SNAKE

VENOMOUS

Eastern Coral Snake | Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control of the Carolinas

Eastern coral snakes are venomous snakes that are native to the southeastern United States. They are known for their striking coloration and are often considered one of the most venomous snakes in the United States. Though more commonly found in the more easterly parts of the Carolinas, they can be found in any region.


Eastern coral snakes are relatively small snakes, typically measuring between 20-30 inches in length. They have a distinctive coloration pattern of red, yellow, and black bands. The red and yellow bands are separated by thin black bands, which distinguishes them from other non-venomous snakes that have similar coloration patterns. They have a relatively small head with a rounded snout and have smooth scales. They are primarily found in areas with sandy soil and plenty of ground cover. Eastern coral snakes are carnivores and primarily feed on other small snakes, lizards, and frogs. They have small teeth and jaws, which allow them to swallow prey whole. Their venom is used to subdue their prey, and they are known for their potent neurotoxic venom, which can cause respiratory failure.


Eastern coral snakes are known for their relatively mild temperament, and they are not aggressive towards humans unless they feel threatened. However, they should be approached with caution due to their venomous nature; their venon is a neurotoxic and can cause respiratory failure. Antivenom is available but should only be administered by a healthcare professional. A Nelon-Cole wildlife control professional should be called immediately if you suspect that you have found an eastern coral snake on your property.


ROUGH GREEN SNAKE

NON-VENOMOUS

Rough Green Snake | Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control

Less common in the Carolinas but still able to be found, the rough green snake (also known regionally at the Grass snake) is an interesting smaller species of snake that you might see. They are popular among reptile enthusiasts due to their vibrant green coloration and docile nature.


Rough green snakes are slender and can grow up to 32 inches in length, but are usually smaller. They have a bright green coloration that blends in well with their surroundings, which makes them difficult to spot in their natural habitat. They have large eyes that are placed on the sides of their head, which gives them excellent peripheral vision. The scales on their body are rough, which is where they get their name. They are primarily found in grasslands, meadows, and open forests, where they can easily blend in with the vegetation. They are arboreal and are often found in trees and bushes. Rough green snakes are carnivorous and primarily feed on insects and spiders. They are also known to eat small amphibians and lizards. They have small teeth and are not able to consume larger prey. They are relatively docile and are not known to bite unless they feel threatened. They are known to play dead if they feel threatened, which involves remaining motionless with their mouth open and tongue hanging out.


Rough green snakes are a popular choice for natural pest control in gardens, as they primarily feed on insects that can damage crops. While not normally a threat to humans, it is always recommended that you call your pest control professional for a positive identification.


RINGNECK SNAKE

NON-VENOMOUS

Ringneck Snake | Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control of the Carolinas

Ringneck snakes are a small and slender species of snake that are native to North America and can be commonly found across the Carolinas. Ringneck snakes are small, typically growing to 10-15 inches in length. They have a distinctive ring around their neck, which can be orange, yellow, or red, and is usually brighter than the rest of their body. Their coloration can vary from gray to black, and some species have a light-colored belly. They have smooth scales and a slightly pointed head. They are primarily found in forests, grasslands, and wetlands. They are nocturnal and are often found under rocks, logs, and other debris during the day.


Ringneck snakes are carnivorous and primarily feed on small invertebrates such as earthworms, slugs, and snails. They have small teeth and are not able to consume larger prey. When threatened, they will often curl into a ball and expose their brightly colored neck, which is thought to deter predators. Some species of ringneck snakes are known for their musky odor, which they use as a defense mechanism. When threatened, they will release a foul-smelling fluid from their cloaca. Though small, ringneck snakes can cause a real scare to homeowners and due to their small size they can often find their way into homes through the smallest of holes.


A Nelon-Cole pest control technician can not only identify and remove ringneck snakes, but can also identify methods they may use to gain access into your home.


COTTONMOUTH SNAKE

VENONMOUS

Cottonmouth Snake | Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control of the Carolinas

Cottonmouth snakes, also known as water moccasins, are a venomous species of snake that are native to North and Central America, and commonly found across the Carolinas. They are known for their aggressive behavior and potent venom, making them a potentially dangerous snake to encounter in the wild.


Cottonmouth snakes are large, heavy-bodied snakes that can grow up to 4.5 feet in length. They have a distinctive triangular-shaped head, which is wider than their body, and vertical pupils. Their coloration can vary from dark brown to black, and they have a white or light-colored mouth, which is where they get their name. Cottonmouth snakes also have a thick and muscular body, which allows them to swim well. They are semi-aquatic and are often found near bodies of water such as swamps, marshes, and streams. They can also be found in areas with dense vegetation, such as forests and wetlands. Cottonmouth snakes are carnivorous and primarily feed on fish, frogs, and small mammals. They are also known to eat other snakes, including other cottonmouths. They have large venom glands and are able to subdue their prey with a single bite.


Cottonmouth snakes are known for their aggressive behavior and are often described as "cantankerous." They are quick to defend themselves and will readily strike if they feel threatened. Cottonmouth snakes have a powerful venom that is primarily hemotoxic, meaning that it destroys red blood cells and damages tissue. The venom can cause severe pain, swelling, and tissue damage, and in rare cases, can be fatal. If you suspect that you have encountered a cottonmouth snake on your property, contact Nelon-Cole immediately for assistance in identification and removal.


While far from the only snakes you might encounter across the Carolinas, this overview will give you a more in-depth look at some of the more common species. Your Nelon-Cole technician loves to answer questions about snakes, and we always welcome your call at 1-888-7-TheWeb. If you see any type of snake around your property, don't take matters into your own hands and take a chance with your safety; call Nelon-Cole and let us take care of the issue safely and humanely.


Nelon-Cole Pest and Wildlife Control of the Carolinas | Pest Control Blog Charlotte

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