Frequently asked snake questions

by Tammy McCormack. 0 Comments

Questions! Questions and more Questions! Seems I have been hit with quite a lot of you seeking information about all the living things that have come out this spring.

Most of all snakes. Snake in my backyard, snake in my living room, on my porch, in my attic, on my dresser, and I seen a snake while hiking -- it had to be poisonous because it was about 12 foot long with big teeth.

My email has been packed with questions, so I will explain to the best of my ability about what is happening and why we are seeing snakes and all types of living things.

For one thing, it is spring and all living things are coming to life. Yes, we have had extremely weird weather, but for some reason nature seems to adapt and they do it very well.

As for snakes in the house, the most common snake is the black rat snake, which is a constrictor and that means they are excellent climbers and they constrict their prey. No, they are not dangerous. They are egg layers and they will not lay eggs in your attic or ceiling. About 110% of the time when I encounter skins in an attic it is from the black rat snake.

Most snakes are seeking food so perhaps you have a rodent issue -- mice, rats and birds are main food sources for the black rat snake. Most times that is why the snake has found its way into your home. They get in but most times cannot get out -- that is why the trapper is called.

In the basement you have a snake. Perhaps it is a garter snake or northern ring snake. These snakes like dampness. Their main food source is bugs such as crickets, worms and spiders. They may have entered through a drain or sump pump. These snakes are harmless. But if you are not skilled with snakes, it is best to call a trapper or your local animal control for assistance.

As for the hiker who saw the snake with big teeth, this is a question I cannot answer unless you were hiking in the Amazon, because we do not have 12-foot snakes native to our area with large teeth.

But please, if you see the snake again, send me a picture. Sometimes people will let large pet snakes go, such as Burmese pythons and boa constrictors, which can be very dangerous. Please do not do this -- these snakes are not native to the United States and cannot adapt and will perish. Also, it can be dangerous for someone who comes upon them.

Until next time, get out an enjoy our Maryland nature.

Tammy McCormack is a licensed Maryland snake trapper and writes a regular column for Her email is

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