In the previous blog post this month (found HERE), we listed some of the common snake species that can be found around our service area of the Carolinas, but there are more than enough to fill one blog entry. With that, we present the 'unofficial' Part 2 of common snake species in the Carolinas.
TIMBER RATTLESNAKE VENOMOUS
One of the rattlesnake species that can be commonly found across the Carolinas, timber rattlesnakes are found in various habitats, ranging from rocky hillsides to swampy lowlands. Despite being feared by many people, timber rattlesnakes play an essential role in the ecosystem, and their populations are in decline due to habitat loss and other human activities. Timber rattlesnakes are large and stocky, with adults ranging in length from 36 to 60 inches. They have a distinctive pattern of brown or black diamond-shaped markings on their backs, which are outlined in lighter shades of yellow or tan.
The rattlesnake's tail is characterized by a series of loosely connected segments that produce a rattling sound when the snake is threatened or disturbed (cue every western movie ever made...). They prefer areas with plenty of cover, such as fallen logs, leaf litter, and rock crevices, where they can hide from predators and hunt for prey. Timber rattlesnakes are most commonly found in the eastern United States, from Maine to Georgia and as far west as Texas. Timber rattlesnakes are ambush predators, lying in wait for their prey to pass by. They primarily feed on small mammals such as rodents, but will also eat birds and other reptiles. These snakes use their venom to immobilize their prey and then swallow it whole.
Timber rattlesnakes are also known to hibernate in large groups, sometimes sharing dens with other species of snakes. Despite being feared by many people, these snakes are not aggressive and will only strike if threatened or cornered. A timber rattlesnake sighting should immediately lead to a call to your closest Nelon-Cole location, as we can immediately dispatch a wildlife control specialist to remove the thread.
SOUTHERN HOGNOSE SNAKE
The simply named southern hognose snake is a non-venomous species that is native to the southeastern United States. They are known for their distinctive upturned snouts, which they use to dig for prey, and their theatrical defensive displays, which involve flattening their necks and hissing loudly. Southern hognose snakes are relatively small, with adults sometimes measuring between 20 and 36 inches in length. Their coloration varies depending on their habitat, but they normally have a pattern of dark brown or black blotches on a lighter background color. Some individuals may also have orange or reddish markings.
Southern hognose snakes are found in a variety of habitats, including sandhills, pine forests, and grasslands. They prefer areas with loose, sandy soil, which makes it easier for them to dig for prey. Southern hognose snakes are primarily active during the day, but may also be active at night during hot weather. They are opportunistic feeders, feeding on a variety of prey, including frogs, toads, lizards, and small mammals. When threatened, southern hognose snakes will flatten their necks and hiss loudly, often playing dead and releasing a foul-smelling musk as a last resort. Like all snakes, southern hognose snakes play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling populations of rodents and other small animals. Additionally, they are popular among reptile enthusiasts and are often kept as pets.
Often easily overlooked due to their small size, they can still pack quite a surprise for unsuspecting homeowners of the Carolinas who stumble upon one. Call your Nelon-Cole wildlife control professional for help in removal of this snake species.
One of the more objectively beautiful snakes that can be found in various parts of the Carolinas, the rainbow snake is a non-venomous snake species that are known for their distinctive iridescent scales, which give them a rainbow-like appearance, as well as their ability to swim and hunt in aquatic environments. Rainbow snakes are relatively large, with adults measuring between 40 and 60 inches in length. They have a distinctive glossy sheen to their scales, which can range from dark brown to black, but appear iridescent when seen in the right light. The underside of the snake is usually a lighter color, ranging from cream to yellow.
Rainbow snakes also have a narrow head and long, slender body, which is well adapted for swimming. They are found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including rivers, streams, and swamps. They prefer slow-moving water with vegetation, which provides cover and hunting opportunities. Rainbow snakes are primarily active during the day, but may also be active at night during hot weather. They are excellent swimmers and use their slender bodies to move through the water with ease. Rainbow snakes are opportunistic feeders, feeding on a variety of prey, including fish, frogs, and crayfish. Rainbow snakes are considered to be a threatened species due to habitat loss and other human activities. They are also sensitive to changes in water quality, which can impact their ability to find prey and reproduce.
More commonly found in the eastern part of the Carolinas, you may nonetheless encounter one of these colorful snakes around your property. For a positive identification, contact your local Nelon-Cole pest control technician.
One of the very few snake species found in the Carolinas that do not bite, these small snakes are known for their unique appearance, with smooth, shiny scales that give them the appearance of a worm, as well as their secretive behavior. Worm snakes are small, typically measuring between 7 and 11 inches in length. They have smooth, shiny scales that are normally brown or gray in color, with a pale pink or white belly. Their small size and worm-like appearance make them difficult to spot in their natural habitat. They are commonly found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and gardens. They prefer areas with loose, sandy soil, which makes it easier for them to burrow into the ground in search of prey.
Worm snakes are not venomous and pose no threat to humans. When threatened, they will curl into a tight ball and may release a foul-smelling musk as a defense mechanism. They are not considered to be a threatened species. Despite the fact that a worm snake cannot bite a human, they should be removed from the property by a Nelon-Cole pest control professional as their presence could invite other snake species such as the king snake.
EASTERN GARTER SNAKE
The eastern garter snake has a variable color pattern, but may be identified by a yellow or white stripe running down the middle of its dark back—resembling the “garters” used to hold up socks. On its side, the garter snake usually has a checkerboard pattern of dark squares and stripes. It will often have two rows of black spots running the length of its greenish or yellowish belly. They are most active during the day and feed mostly on frogs, salamanders, fish, and earthworms.
Eastern garter snakes usually live in or near wet areas, but can be found in nearly any habitat in North Carolina. Garter snakes may bite when handled. Like their relatives the watersnakes, garter snakes will often thrash around when picked up and expel a strong-smelling musk from scent glands at the base of the tail. Your Nelon-Cole pest and wildlife professional excels at identifying and removing this snake species.
SOUTHEASTERN CROWNED SNAKE
VENOMOUS (but harmless to humans)
The southeastern crowned snake is a small, shiny brown snake characterized by a light band at the rear of the black head. The belly is either white or yellowish. It is most often found in the piedmont and foothills sections of North Carolina, and in the central upstate South Carolina regions of the Carolinas. Though a very small and elusive species, this snake plays an important role in the ecosystem.
The southern crowned snake is a small snake, typically measuring between 6 and 9 inches in length. It has smooth, shiny scales that are typically brown or gray in color, with a distinctive pattern of dark spots and bands along its back. Its most distinguishing feature is a crown-like pattern of dark spots on its head, which gives it its common name. They are normally found in areas with moist soil and vegetation, which provides cover and food sources. Southern crowned snakes are primarily nocturnal and spend most of their time hiding under cover or burrowing in the soil. Though they have a venom that immobilizes and kills small prey, they are not a threat to humans in this regard. They feed primarily on small invertebrates, including insects, spiders, and other small arthropods.
Your Nelon-Cole professional is adept at identifying the southeastern crowned snake from other snake species, and should be called if you encounter one on your property.
They are far more snake species that are native to the Carolinas than can fit in a mere 2 blog articles, so there may be more to follow. The intention is to give some general information to our service area about the threats (or lack of) that these snake species carry. Snakes overall hold a very important place in our ecosystem, and steps should be taken to make sure that any snake you see is properly identified and necessary steps take to remove any threat to your family, pets, and property. Your trained and award-winning Nelon-Cole technician is ready to help and is just a phone call away - 1-888-7-TheWeb. Call us today!