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A Snake is a Snake

  • Published
  • By Amy Oliver
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
There's nothing like opening your front door to find a slithery snake sunning himself on your front door step.

Our experts in the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron's Natural Resources Flight say there are 44 species of snakes found in Florida. Six of the 44 snakes are venomous. Luckily, only four of these venomous snakes are found on Hurlburt Field.

To me, a snake is a snake. And I don't stick around long enough to count the colorful rings or inspect the shape of its head or listen for a rattle.

For those of you who like to poke a stick at a seemingly lifeless snake to see if it's alive, the following are the local venomous snakes which should require a longer stick: eastern diamondback rattlesnake, cottonmouth or water moccasin, pygmy rattlesnake and the eastern coral snake.

A quick Google search will turn up their various visual characteristics, favorite hangouts and hiding spots and common non-poisonous look-alikes. 

This brings us to your garden variety of non-poisonous snakes that can also find their way into your garage, get comfy in your flower bed or sun themselves on your front door step. But as I said, to me, a snake is a snake. A good rule of thumb is to simply avoid all snakes, just to be safe.

And with warm weather upon us, snake encounters will likely increase.

The following are some safety tips to avoid disrupting and angering these creatures:

· Turn on outside lights to check your patio surface before walking out at night. Snakes are attracted to the radiant heat given off from concrete surfaces long after the sun goes down.

· Wear shoes when in your yard or around the house at night. Pygmy rattlesnakes are common on base and shoes can offer some protection from these small snakes. 

· When doing yard work or playing, watch where you put your hands; never reach into areas without checking them out first. 

· Most importantly -- if you see a snake avoid it, most people are bitten attempting to kill or capture snakes. 

· The number one rule is to keep your eyes open and watch where you put your hands and feet.

If you see a snake in your yard or other unacceptable location, call the 1st SOCES's Pest Management section at 884-6173. Pest Management personnel have the equipment to safely relocate venomous reptiles to more suitable and remote areas.