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Varmint of the Month: Snake

Posted 6/1/2019

Oh No, it’s a snake!

It’s true, Florida has a lot of snakes. Not everyone wants to have a snake cross their path, but chances are, it’s going to happen in Florida. We share their yard with them. There are many varieties of snakes, which is why they are the perfect pick for our varmint of the month. What is the first thing that comes to mind when hearing “snake”? Usually a scream for help! Well, we are here to help. Knowing about snakes is the first step to not being afraid. There are venomous snakes as well as non-venomous snakes. Telling the difference between the two is half the battle.

Identifying a venomous snake can be life or death, literally. Florida has six native venomous snakes, of which only really four are found in Southwest Florida. First, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is known for the distinctive diamond pattern on their back as well as the rattle they shake to warn anyone, or anything, that gets too close. The second, the Pygmy Rattlesnake, or a ‘ground rattler’ as Catcher Dan calls them. This rattlesnake is usually smaller with a splash of red on their back and also has the infamous rattle shake when feeling in danger. The third in line, the Water Moccasin, also known as the Cottonmouth.   The Banded Water Snake often gets mistaken for this snake, but the Banded Water Snake is non-venomous. The Cottonmouth is very thick in size and can be very aggressive. This is probably one of my least favorite snakes. All three of these snakes have a triangle head so they have room to store their venom. The fourth snake to avoid is the Coral Snake, which can be easily confused with the non-venomous King Snake. I’m sure most of you have heard a rhyme or two about these snakes. I promise, when one of these little guys are at your feet, the rhyme will not come to mind! An easy way to remember is the venomous Coral Snake has a black snout where the non-venomous King Snake has a red snout. Unlike the other venomous snakes, the Coral Snake has a very slender head, they chew rather than strike their prey. The Coral Snake is also the only venomous snake in Florida that lays eggs. All other venomous snakes will give birth to live snakes.  

Southwest Florida has so many different varieties of non-venomous snakes, I can only get to a few slithery friends. We have a large variety of yellow and red Rat Snakes here at our home. We had two Yellow Rat Snakes calling our shed home when we first moved in. We still see them around, so we know we haven’t disturbed them too much. They are wonderful to have because they eat all the rats, hence their name. I will take a snake over a rat any day! We have an abundance of Black Racers here too… or maybe only one Black Racer I see a lot! They're quick, so it's hard to say. Catcher Dan has caught many King Snakes ranging in size. Those are beautiful little creatures, the one with the red snout, not black! He’s also brought to me many Ringneck Snakes, Garter Snakes and little Florida Brown Snakes. Living with Catcher Dan is an interesting experience for sure. If he is in the woods, there is a good possibility he is coming home with a snake in his hands. He seems to have no fear, but the reality is that he is trained to handle all snakes appropriately. We do not suggest picking up any snakes on your own. Even a non-venomous snake will still try to strike. If you see a snake at your home or business, feel free to call Catcher Dan to get it for you. That is what he specializes in! He’d be more than happy to bring that pesky snake back to the wild. 

Slithering away for now,

Goldie Locks 

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