Lifestyle

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Lifestyle

Photo: NajaShots/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Georgia and South Carolina are home to many various snake species.  From rural areas to more urban and suburban locations, snake encounters happen all throughout both states. Of course, snakes are part of the ecosystem, and beneficial for eating pests like rats and mice.  But, there are 6 venomous snakes in Georgia and South Carolina you need to be aware of!

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, we are “fortunate” to have among the highest biodiversity of snakes in the United States.  The state has 47 various species of snakes, from the mountains to the north, and down to the coast. But, if you’re like many people, you don’t think having that many snakes around is “fortunate.”

Around 20 percent of the U.S. population has some degree of fear when it comes to snakes, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Although snake encounters aren’t extremely frequent, perhaps extreme fear of them is unnecessary.  But being able to identify snakes can help ease the fear, especially when it comes to venomous snakes in Georgia and South Carolina.

Snakes can be found just about anywhere throughout the two states: backyards, parks, woodlands, and more.  Corn and rat snakes are a larger variety that may be spotted in your backyard, but they will eat mice, rats, and occasionally birds and their eggs.  Snakes often use piles of brush or firewood as a safe hiding place.  Water snakes are of course more likely to be spotted near lakes, streams, ponds, and swamps.

The good news for those who fear snakes? Out of the 47 species, only 6 are venomous.

Here is a list of those 6 venomous snakes in Georgia and South Carolina:

This list is by The University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Labratory.

  • Copperhead

    Copperheads are fairly large (24-40 inches).  They are heavy-bodied with large, triangular heads and elliptical pupils (cat eyes). They are tan or brown with darker hourglass-shaped crossbands down their body.

    They live throughout the eastern and central U.S. but aren’t known to be in most of Florida or south-central Georgia. Copperheads are mostly found in the forested areas in South Carolina and Georgia.

    They can be found day or night, but mostly forage after dark in the hotter part of the seasons.

    For more facts about copperheads, click here.

    Southern Copperhead Snake

    Photo: iStockphoto/Getty Images

  • Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin

    Cottonmouths are semi-aquatic snakes with large, triangular heads and a dark line though the eye with elliptical pupils. They are usually between 24-48 inches long.  The coloration of cottonmouths are variable, with dark crossbands on a brown and yellow ground color, or completely brown or black.

    They are pit-vipers, meaning they have facial puts that sense heat and are used to detect prey and predators.

    Cottonmouths live throughout the Southeast and up to southeastern Virginia.  Most of the cottonmouths in Georgia and South Carolina are along the coastal plain.

    Like the copperhead, cottonmouths can be found day or night, but typically forage after dark. And they can also be found year-round.

    More about cottonmouths here.

    Cottonmouth (water moccasin) snake swimming in the water

    Photo: Trevor Baker/iStock/Getty Images Plus

  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

    The eastern diamondback rattlesnakes is the largest of the rattlesnake species. As adults, they are usually 33-72 inches long.  They have large, broad heads with two light lines on the face. Their background color is usually brown, tan, or a yellow color, and covered with diamond shapes that are brown.

    Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes live in the Lower Coastal Plain of the Southeast.  They reside from southern North Carolina to eastern Louisiana.  But they have a heavier presence in Florida and southern Georgia. And they tend to live in dry sandy areas, pinewoods, coastal dunes, and avoid wet areas mostly.

    They spend most of their time coiled up in palmetto thickets and thick vegetation.  Most of their movement between locations happens during the day, mostly morning and evening.

    Learn more about the eastern diamondback rattlesnake here.

    Large wild Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake - crotalus adamanteus laying in pine needles in north Florida

    Photo: Chase D’animulls/iStock/Getty Images

  • Pigmy Rattlesnake

    The pigmy rattlesnake is on the smaller side, around 14-22 inches in length. They have 9 large scales on top of their head and have a tiny rattle that can rarely be heard. The pigmy rattlesnake has a row of mid-dorsal spots and a bar that runs from the eye to the base of the mouth.  The color of the bar can vary from black to brownish-red. They also have an orange or reddish brown dorsal stripe.

    These snakes are found in the northeastern, northwestern, and central portion of Georgia and throughout South Carolina.

    They spend most of their time hidden among leaves making them hard to spot.

    For more about the pigmy rattlesnake, click here.

    Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri)

    Photo: SteveByland/iStock/Getty Images Plus

  • Canebrake/Timber Rattlesnake

    Timber rattlesnakes are called canebrake rattlesnakes in the Coastal Plain of the Southeast. The adults range from 30-60 inches in length.  They are usually gray and may have a pink hue.  They have a pinkish, yellow, orange, or brown stripe that runs the length of their back and they have the characteristic rattle at the end of their tail.

    These snakes live throughout the eastern United States except Florida. They often live in lowland cane thickets, high areas around swamps and river floodplains, along with forests, mountainous, and rural areas. They do hibernate during cold weather.

    Learn more about the Canebreak/Timber Rattlesnake here.

    Timber Rattler (Crotalus horridus) coiled and rattling; ready to strike

    Photo: NajaShots/iStock/Getty Images Plus

  • Coral Snake

    The coral snake is the only one on this list that isn’t in the viper category.  They are slender snakes and medium in size, measuring 18-30 inches. Coral snakes are recognized by their bright body pattern with red, yellow and black rings where the red and yellow rings touch.

    These are the only eastern species of snake that have a pair of fixed fangs in the front of their mouths.

    Coral snakes live throughout areas in the southern Coastal plain from North Carolina to Louisiana. They are most prevalent in Florida and can be found in pine and scrub oak sandhills.

    They are rarely seen because they are highly secretive and spend much of their time underground.  These snakes don’t typically climb trees or shrubs.  Most sightings happen in spring or fall.  If they are threatened, they will elevate and curl the tip of their tail.

    Read more about the coral snake here.

    Coral Snake

    Photo: JasonOndreicka/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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