Spring is here, but it doesn't seem possible. Soon everything will be blooming, and that means our wildlife friends are emerging from hibernation and our friends the snakes will be as well.
There are some important snake tips I wanted to write about. Let's first go over the basics since so many of you will be working in the yard, planting flowers and removing debris. This is when we possibly can encounter a snake, which can be very frightening for most people. Many people see a snake think it is very dangerous and then begin to panic. This is perfectly normal as snakes are very misunderstood.
I deal with this all the time. You need to always remember to stay calm, walk away, and never attempt to handle a snake on your own especially if you are not sure what type of snake it is. Even though it could be a harmless black rat snake, it still can produce a painful bite. If it is a local copperhead or timber rattler and you do attempt to remove it and get bitten, then it is very important to go directly to the emergency room.
If you feel there may be a snake issue of any type it is best to call in a professional. When looking for a professional, the main questions you want to ask a professional are:
What services do you provide specifically in the snake field? Do you do a full inspection, inside or outside depending on the snake issue? Do you go into attics, basements, crawl spaces, and sheds and under porches? Can you tell me how the snake got into my home, or if there is an infestation? What methods do you use to remove the snake? What if the snake is not here when you arrive? Are services provided in writing? What if I do not want the snake killed or for you to use glue traps?
As a snake expert in my field, I know there are many trapping companies out there. They can be very good at what they do. But you should never have to pay $400 to $500 for a snake call. Wildlife trapping is different and all companies can vary in prices, but you should not be taken advantage of when you have a snake issue. Every spring I also like to remind others about snake tips around the home. Snakes like to live in damp, dark cool places where food is abundant. Some examples are:
Firewood stacked directly on the ground Old lumber or junk piles Gardens and flower beds with heavy mulch Untrimmed shrubs, and shrubs growing next to or close to the foundation Unmowed or unkept lawns Garden and storage sheds with excess clutter where rodents become a problem Cluttered basements and attics, with a rodent or bird problem
I have seen snakes enter openings the size of a dime. It is very important that dryer vents, exhaust vents, bottom of garage doors, and entry doors are sealed or covered very tightly with weather stripping.
Spring is here with all it's beauty. Get out an enjoy nature!
Tammy McCormack is a Maryland Licensed DNR Professional Snake Trapper. She writes an online column for The Frederick News-Post. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.