Experts share snake safety tips

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - State wildlife experts say your chances of a venomous snakebite in South Carolina is extremely low, and someone is more likely to die from choking on food or falling down stairs than a snake bite.

Kevin Murphy of Critter Control trapping company says their expert trappers catch venomous snakes mostly during the summer months, but this year they've been called out a lot because a warmer than usual fall. He explains the best way to tell if a snake is a potential danger.

"Rattles or patterns on the snake, copper colored like a penny, those are typically the poisonous snakes we have in the area. They have triangular head shapes. Their pupils are usually more sloped, oval-like," Murphy said.

Experts say a venomous snake bite is rarely deadly, but medical attention is needed as quickly as possible.

"The main thing to do is stay calm. Don't try to exert yourself. Get yourself to a hospital as quickly as you can and let the medical professionals take care of it," John Newland of Critter Control said.

It may help medical professionals to take a picture of the snake or kill the snake if it can be done safely and bring it in case it's needed to make anti-venom.

"Do not try to approach a snake, unless you know it is a benign snake. A lot of people don't know that and that's how they get hurt," Newland said.

Larger non-venomous snakes found in this area may also bite, which can cause bleeding or lead to infection. Experts say clean the wound with anti-bacterial soap, and if it is a deep bite go to the doctor to determine whether stitches are needed.

The Department of Natural Resources says there are six types of venomous snakes in South Carolina including:


-coral snake


-pigmy rattlesnake

-eastern diamond back rattlesnake

-and timber rattlesnake

DNR says these snakes are vital to the environment because they control rodent populations.

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