Snake sightings up in the Lowcountry as temperature rises

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - You might be spotting more snakes this time of year.

A South Carolina Aquarium says that's normal because of the warmer temperatures.

It's breeding season and snakes are out looking for food.

Herpetologist Josh Zalabak with the aquarium says some snakes won't eat at all during the winter months so they'll go about three to four months without food.

When winter ends they are actively hunting.

West Ashley resident William Purcell spotted a snake at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens this week and recorded it for a few minutes.

"Out of the corner of my eye I saw something standing up like that and it was the head of a cottonmouth or a water moccasin," Purcell said.

He says it was about four feet away from his girlfriend.

"I pushed her out the way, I grabbed my phone and started recording," Purcell said.

Williams Wildlife Removal says it's had more calls for snakes removals so far this year than last.

Leigh Anne Williams is the owner and operator of the company, and identified the snake in the video as a cottonmouth, a venomous snake.

"We've probably gotten 20 calls just last week just about snakes, so it's definitely increased this year," Williams said.

She says she could be seeing more calls because she's noticed the rodent population, a snake's food source, has increased significantly over the past couple of years

Williams recently removed a copperhead near a daycare.

However, she says most of the snake calls she respond to aren't venomous and you should stay away from them if you're not sure.

"Most people get bitten because they are trying to kill the snake or capture it themselves," Williams said.

Williams says they can use sticky traps to catch snakes and then release them.

After Purcell posted his video on social media others started sharing their encounters with snakes as well.

"If you respect it and you maintain space, it's not going to bother you. Most of the snakes that I see are heading in the opposite direction," Purcell said.

Williams says she recommends schools and day cares to get a snake identification book or print out photos of the six venomous snakes so that they're able to identify them if they come near their area.

At the very least you might be able to tell if it's venomous or not.

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