As temperatures heat up, more and more people in the upstate are seeing snakes slithering into their backyards.
Two people in the upstate have already been bitten by venomous copperheads this summer.
The most recent one was near the Fall Creek Landing off Highway 11 in Oconee County on Memorial Day.
It’s one of two venomous snakes you might run into in the upstate. The other is this timber rattler.
You can recognize them both as venomous by their arrow-shaped heads.
Oconee County snake handler Lamar Digby said his phone is ringing off the hook with people finding them in their yards, garages and homes.
“The best thing is to just let him go about his way. He’s not going to stick around. He’s going to go on. And a lot of people get bitten trying to kill one. Copperheads will move 15-20 feet per second,” said Digby. “A lot of people call them greased lightning because they’re quick.”
He said one of the big mistakes people make is killing black snakes they find in their yards. That’s because black snakes kill and eat venomous snakes.
“Everybody always says a good snake is a dead snake. But are you going to keep a black snake around or do you want a copperhead around?” said Digby.
Here’s what the DNR said you should do if you get bitten:
- Get away from the snake so you don’t get bitten again.
- Don’t run. You don’t want to elevate your heart rate.
- Call 911 immediately so a hospital can give you anti-venom.
- Keep your bitten limb in a position slightly lower than your heart.
- Don’t apply ice.
- Don’t try to suck out the venom.
- Don’t make a constrictive tourniquet around that limb.
It’s unlikely a snake will bite you unless it thinks you’re a threat.
Even Digby has only been bitten by a copperhead once.
Dept. of Natural Resources Sgt. DJ Riley said you’re most likely to encounter venomous snakes in Oconee, Pickens and Greenville Counties because they’re the most mountainous in our area.
The DNR said the best way to keep snakes away from your house is to remove places for them to hide or that would attract prey species. That includes lumber, woodpiles, tin and other debris.
DNR officials also say keeping grass mowed and the lower branches of shrubs trimmed will make your yard less attractive to snakes.