Slithering snake safety in WNC for World Snake Day

Non-venomous garter snake | Photo by Jodie Owen

Last year snake bite numbers in NC were higher than they’ve been in recent years — most likely because people were spending more time outside during the pandemic. Today is World Snake Day, so let’s celebrate by learning about snakes in WNC.

Venomous vs. non-venomous:

○ Of the 38 snake species native to NC, only 6 are venomous

○ The most common non-venomous snakes in WNC are the Black Rat Snake, Corn Snake, Eastern Hognose Snake, Eastern Kingsnake, and the Rough Green Snake.

Safety tips:

○ If you see a snake, walk away + call the NC Wildlife Helpline at (866) 318-2401 if you believe it to be venomous. 

○ Don’t try to kill the snake — it is not only unnecessary, but could also be illegal. In fact, 4 of the 6 venomous species + 4 non-venomous species in NC are protected.

○ Remove hiding places like piles of rocks, wood, and other debris.

○ Keep the lawn mowed. Snakes prefer to hide in tall grass. They’re also easier to spot in shorter grass.

○ Wear closed shoes + long pants when walking or hiking.

○ Close gaps, repair damage to siding + the foundation, and seal openings under doors, windows, and around water pipes to protect your home.

If you are bitten:

The Carolina Poison Control Center advises you to —

  • Elevate the area
  • Wash it + get to the doctor ASAP. You can tell if a bite is venomous by the swelling.
  • Lay or sit down with the bite below the level of the heart. Do not suck out the venom.
  • Call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 

ProTip: If you want to know more about snakes in our area, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission offers some peace-of-mind facts + a few guidelines to keep yourself and the snake safe.