Most of the snakes you’ll come across in Charlotte are harmless, but there are a few venomous snakes that you could come across at home or in public areas. Chances are, you’ll come across just one snake at a time, but it’s also possible that you’ll come across a group of snakes.
Charlotte Snakes In Groups – Is It A Ball, Bed or Den?
It’s not every day that you see Charlotte snakes ball up ten to twenty thick. But when spring arrives, the chance encounters between humans and snakes take a leap in activity. You’re out, they’re out, and the possibility of crossing paths is never far from actuality. In most cases, neither you nor the snakes seek to encounter the other. And that is good, because: most bites occur when inexperienced people seek to handle or kill a snake.
In a recent photo taken along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, a local resident captured the essence of snakes-in-a-bed. After posting the image on social media, she sent the photo to NBC Charlotte. Luckily, she knew to stay far enough away from the snakes to avoid danger.
Whether you see them singularly or as grouped snakes, avoidance offers the best defense. Problem is: sometimes people just end up too near a snake in Charlotte. Or worse: you spot a ball, a bed, or a den of snakes too near your home, or perhaps even under or in your home.
In this article, the Carolina Pest Management wildlife removal team shares pointers for what to do when Charlotte snakes get too near to your living space.
Information About Charlotte Snakes
1. Venomous Snakes in Charlotte
According to the NC State University Cooperative Extension, only six of the 37 snake species common to North Carolina are venomous. Three are typical to the Charlotte Piedmont area: copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes.
In Charlotte, copperheads are considered one of the most dangerous snakes to come across. Copperheads have heavy body types and can grow up to three feet in length. Body color is tan or brown with dark brown spots in hourglass shapes. Copperheads have triangular heads with a distinct line running between the jawline and the eye. Copperheads are venomous, although bites aren’t often fatal. Copperheads live in a range of terrain including wetlands, mountainous ranges, and hillsides.
Cottonmouth snakes in the NC area are often known as water moccasins. Cottonmouth snakes have a distinct white mouth that is shown when opening its jaws to devour prey. Cottonmouth snakes have a dark brown coloring with crossbands that fade with age. The average length of a cottonmouth snake in NC is around three to four feet. However, there have been snakes from this species measuring up to seven feet. Cottonmouth snakes are the most aquatic of these species and make their homes near bodies of water. This species is venomous, but with less deadly poison than rattlesnakes.
Rattlesnakes are extremely dangerous throughout the United States. They can be found in many areas across North Carolina. They’re most commonly found in deep forests and mountainous areas. There are several species of rattlesnakes found in the Carolinas, including the timber rattlesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and pygmy rattlesnake. Timber rattlesnakes are the most common in Lake Norman and other NC areas. Rattlesnakes are typically quite large, with an average adult growing up to four feet in length. Often, rattlesnakes have light skin tone with dark chevron crossbands. Black tails are a common feature of rattlesnakes.
Other Venomous Snakes in North Carolina: Eastern Coral Snakes
While not typically found in the Piedmont area, eastern coral snakes can be found in sandy or marshy areas in southeast North Carolina. Eastern coral snakes are small, with an adult length of no more than 30 inches, and are brightly colored with a pattern of black, yellow, and red. They have a black nose with fixed fangs that remain at the front of their mouths. Since these snakes remain underground most of the time, it’s very rare to be bitten by an eastern coral snake in NC.
2. Venomous or Non-venomous?
Five characteristics of venomous snakes in Charlotte include:
- Vertically elliptical pupils
- A sizable triangular-shaped head with a shiny cap over the nose
- Pits slightly below and between each eye and the associated nostril
- Non-singular scales on the bottom side of the tail
- Long fangs
3. How Dangerous is a Snake Bite?
Statistics declare bee stings take out more people than do snake bites. But even if bitten by a non-venomous Charlotte snake, do not rule out the need for competent medical attention.
Tip: Most non-venomous snakes cannot bite through clothing.
4. What is a Snake’s Striking Distance?
Typical striking distance of a snake is ½ the length of the snake’s body.
5. How Can I Avoid Snakebites at Home?
- Keep the yard mowed
- Remove brush and weeds from around nearby trees as well as the house
- Learn how to “see” uncommon movement
- Avoid dense vegetation
- Wear gloves and long sleeve shirts
- Keep body parts away from areas you cannot see in clearly, i.e. bushes
- Just walk away from a snake if found – don’t try to remove or touch them yourself
- Don’t disturb grouped snakes in beds, dens or balls; rather call for professional Charlotte snake removal
6. What do you do if you find a snake outside?
If you’re on a walk or in your yard and see a snake, don’t attempt to kill it or catch it. Slowly back away from the snake while watching its movements carefully. In public areas like parks, most snakes are left to their own devices. However, if a snake is on your property and doesn’t appear to be leaving, contact Carolina Pest Management to discuss safe snake control methods. If you notice a snake in a public area and suspect it may be poisonous, contact local wildlife control authorities to report it. Most snakes have a tendency to stay away from populated areas, but snakes have shown up in office buildings, stores, warehouses, and other areas of business.
7. What do you do if you find a snake inside your home?
If you see a snake or evidence of its presence inside the house, remain calm. Never try to herd or trap a snake, especially if you’re unsure of the species. If you see a live snake, attempt to confine the snake until you’re able to call a wildlife removal specialist like Carolina Pest Management. Non-poisonous snakes in NC are more frequent house guests, but many individuals don’t feel comfortable handling a snake and should entrust the job to professionals.
8. How can you protect your pets from snakes?
Household pets lack the same instincts as humans to steer clear of snakes. To protect them, you should train them and stay watchful when out in natural areas. For instance, you should keep your dog on a short lease while taking walks outside. Stay on marked trails, especially on hikes with areas full of dense grass and large rocks. If your dog reacts when seeing a snake, train it to ignore the reptile by calling it away. When your pet comes to you, reward it with a treat.
In the yard, protect your pets by putting a fence up around your yard. Mow your grass on a regular basis since snakes prefer tall grass. Clean up any debris that could attract rodents, since they are a snake’s main food source.
Steps to Take If You’re Bitten By a Snake
If you or your pet has been bitten by a snake, seek out immediate medical assistance. If a snake bite is venomous, long-term exposure could lead to potentially serious or fatal complications. Call Poison Control or 911 and then perform any first aid on the bite. First aid steps to practice at home include:
- Get away from the snake and don’t attempt to kill it. The snake may bite again if provoked. Note any distinct markings as a way to help professionals identify the snake.
- Lie still, preferably on your back. Apply an elastic bandage tightly around the wound and secure it in place. Don’t clean the wound. Stay immobile until medical help arrives.
- Avoid performing any type of first aid that you didn’t hear about from a trusted source, such as a healthcare professional. Be discerning, since some unreliable sources recommend sucking out the venom or cutting the wound. Both of those actions are dangerous and likely to worsen the condition.
When Snakes in Charlotte Invade Your Home
Living with snakes can be stressful but not necessarily dangerous. Reports from the NC Cooperative Extension establish slipping in a bathtub as a far riskier component of human activities. But sometimes they do enter buildings. In Charlotte, black rat snakes typically prove the be the most frequent home “visitors.”
Non-lethal snake control methods include:
- Finding and sealing points of entry
- Adding weather stripping to window and doorframes
- Eliminating the food source
- AND removing the existing snake or grouped snakes
Since 1939, Carolina Pest Management has been helping homeowners and business owners in the Carolinas remove and manage wildlife and other local pests. When snakes invade your home or land, we have the environmentally conscious Charlotte snake solution. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for Charlotte pest control and wildlife control.