Backyard Buddies
Snake ID

Photo: Matt Clancy

Snake ID

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If you see something long, thin and slithery in the backyard, walk away from it slowly. Not all snakes are venomous and some lizards look like snakes at first glance but it's better to be safe than sorry,

You are most likely to see a snake during spring, when males are looking for a mate.

Most snakes spend the winter months hibernating and they are often found curled up in sheds or garages, under piles of logs and stacks of firewood.

Snakes are sometimes drawn to our houses because they are good source of water. Your pet's water bowl on the veranda or even the water in a toilet could be attracting a snake. If you think you have a snake, try placing a shallow dish of water at your fence line so the snake doesn't come close to your house and keep your pets and children indoors. Snakes will usually move away from homes soon enough, as they are often as scared of us as we are of them.

If the snake is inside your house, leave the snake a possible avenue of escape such as an open window, close the door of the room it is in and place a towel under the door.

To have a snake removed, call your state's Environment Department or Parks and Wildlife Service. They will be able to give you the details of a licensed snake handler. Snakes should not be relocated out of their territories, as they have a very low chance of survival if they are.

Do not try to catch or disturb the snake, as they may aggressively defend themselves. Snakes are also protected under legislation, so it is illegal to harm them. In the very, very unlikely event that someone is bitten by a snake, you do not need to catch the snake so that the hospital staff can identify the correct anti-venom.

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Photo: OEH