6/04/2014Snakes in Dunwoody
Snakes in Dunwoody
As the summer begins to get into full swing, many residents turn to the outdoors for fun, recreation and even some backyard gardening. When enjoying the outdoors, safety should always be considered an essential part of any outdoor activities. One important safety precaution is knowing how to deal with and address chance encounters with wildlife.
The City of Dunwoody recently has been alerted to several snake sightings in some of our city parks and on private property, especially in residential backyards. According to the State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division snakes are common inhabitants of most backyards, parks, and woodlands throughout Georgia. Most snakes spend much of the time underground or under cover but they can sometimes be spotted or unearthed when doing yard work, gardening or even on a stroll through the park.
The Georgia DNR also emphasizes that snakes play an important role in Georgia’s ecosystem. Snakes are both a predator and prey and can even be beneficial to areas because they eat rats, mice and other animals deemed to be pests. Outdoor enthusiasts and gardeners may sometimes run across small ringneck, worm, red-bellied, brown, earth, and crowned snakes. While none of these species are very large and do not bite, there are several larger snake species (corn and rat snakes, as well as racers) which can be present in residential areas. Being on the lookout for snakes around piles of brush or firewood and near crawl spaces underneath homes is an important part of outdoor safety.
The Georgia DNR also put together a fact sheet about the snakes of Georgia (http://georgiawildlife.com/node/138) which includes some helpful information on coping with snakes and what to do if you spot a snake?
· Do not attempt to handle the snake. Give it the space it needs. Most snake bites occur when a snake is cornered or captured, prompting the animal to defend itself.
- Remember that snakes are predators that feed on rodents, insects and even other snakes. Most species in Georgia are harmless. There is no need to fear non-venomous snakes.
· Try to identify it from a distance. Georgia has 43 native species, and only six are venomous. It is illegal to possess or kill most nongame species, including all non-venomous snakes.
- Make your home inaccessible to both snakes and snake food (rodents) by closing up all possible entrance locations and by removing brush, log piles and other habitat that attracts mice, lizards and other animals on which snakes prey.
- Glueboards, purchased at almost any hardware, landscaping, home improvement or department stores are quite effective in trapping the snake for removal. But exercise extreme caution when trapping snakes for removal.
If a clearly identified venomous snake is in an area where it represents a danger to children or pets, consider contacting a wildlife removal specialist (such as Matthew B Field at All Wildlife Control, 404-427-2515 or
http://www.allwildlifecontrol.com/index.php). Or contact the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division for a list of private wildlife removal specialists.
For more on Georgia’s snakes, go to www.georgiawildlife.org/georgiasnakes, or check out “Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia” (www.georgiawildlife.org/conservation/reptileamphibianguide - University of Georgia Press), a comprehensive reference.