As snake sightings increase due to warmer weather, NC Wildlife urges people not to kill them

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The warm weather means more snakes will start to show up along trails, in the woods, crossing roads and in our yards, according to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Wildlife diversity biologists request that if you see a snake, do not be alarmed, do not kill it, give it plenty of room, and if you see a rattlesnake, report it.

“Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem and help control the rodent, slug and insect populations,” reptile conservation biologist Jeff Hall said. “There are many ways we can coexist with snakes, which is important because of 38 of North Carolina’s native snake species, ten are listed endangered, threatened or of special concern.”

Of the six venomous snake species native to N.C., three are rattlesnakes – the timber, the pigmy and the Eastern diamondback. Each one is in decline and protected by the North Carolina Endangered Species Act. Persecution by humans and habitat destruction are the main culprits.

If anyone spots a rattler, they are urged to send an email to with a photo (required), date and time the snake was observed and location (GPS coordinates preferred), or they can log their sighting on the HerpMapper mobile app.

If you see a snake in your yard and would prefer it to reside elsewhere, NC Wildlife says you can safely encourage it to leave by gently spraying it with a garden hose. You can also make your yard less hospitable for snakes by cleaning up clutter such as stick and rock piles, keeping your lawn mowed, closing gaps and holes in your siding and foundation, and sealing openings under doors, windows and around waterpipes.

They say most snakes will leave people alone if they aren’t bothered and are provided an escape route. Watching for snakes and giving them a wide berth are effective habits for co-existing with snakes safely.

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