Common snake sense

by Tammy McCormack. 0 Comments

Well, this was not the article I had planned to write this week but I have had some unusual comments and questions pertaining to last week's article.

So I feel I should address the comments and perhaps help with the questions.

Let me begin by saying snakes are very secret to me. They are one the most-respected species that I truly care about. Of course, I care about all living things, but the snake is my favorite of the serpent world.

Some readers asked if there is a humane way to kill a snake. The answer is no and I feel I cannot completely answer this due to the fact that in my line of work I have never killed a snake.

All living creatures feel pain and I don't see the need to kill something just because you feel like it, or it is in your way. It is hard when there is a mysterious snake on your property and you don't know if it is dangerous or not, and that is why I strive to educate the public to have a better understanding of our snake friends.

As for having a pet snake, I never suggest owning a large constrictor no matter how skilled or knowledgeable you are. As I have said before, a snake may be born and raised in a domesticated home, etc. however, as with any species, a snake still has wild instincts and can harm or even kill you.

Such as the reticulated python and Burmese python, which become extremely large. I know my snakes that I have rescued have been over 15 feet long because they become so large people can no longer care for them or they just let them go. So, please, think twice about owing a large constrictor.

As for owning or domesticating a poisonous snake not native to our region there is no reason to have one of these snakes; unless, you are doing something educational, milking for venom can be very dangerous.

There are wonderful people out there who truly love these types of snakes and are very skilled in caring for them, but too many accidents happen. I have seen it too many times. So, no, there is no way to domesticate a poisonous snake.

As for our local homeowners and residents, yes, our native snakes are much more active this year. We have had one hard winter and a very quick spring. This can create an imbalance for our snake friends as they emerge from hibernation.

One day it is hot like summer and two days it is cold again like fall. So breeding is perhaps delayed and you will encounter more snakes around than usual.

I have had my phone ring off the hook this week with calls about people having black snakes near their porch or property. The problem is that you have one female and the remainder are males competing for her.

Developers won't stop building and they are running everything out of areas that the animals and snakes had inhabited for decades.

You may not have anything going on in your neighborhood but even a mile or two down the road where there is construction can cause the snakes and animals to enter your neighborhood.

Please continue with your comments and questions.

Next week I will write about poisonous snakes of Maryland ...

Tammy McCormack is a professional snake trapper. She writes a regular column for

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