Springtime thriller: Snakes in a drain

JACKSON, MS - It's not the best or most noticeable sign of spring in Mississippi, but it's time for snake eggs to start hatching. Many people are afraid of snakes and just want to make sure there aren't any hiding in their yards.

"There's no such thing as a snake repellent. Moth balls and commercial repellents don't repel snakes. They're worthless, they do nothing," snake expert Terry Vandeventer said.

Vandeventer suggests keeping areas mowed, clean and clear of debris.

"Along the edge of a building that hasn't been mowed, this is a good place for rats and mice."

A furry rodent can be a gourmet meal for a snake, which may have you thinking snakes aren't so bad after all.

"But around the house where there's children and pets, you may not want snakes. So the thing to do is clean an area like that up and get it nice and short. Keep up with the Joneses," Vandeventer said.

You may come across a snake and wonder if it's poisonous.

"Copperheads are potentially dangerous for sure. They bite a fair number of people in Mississippi, but they are not considered a lethal species," Vandeventer said. "It's an animal that's secretive, that wants to be left alone. But when people seem them, they always make an effort to kill them. And as a result we have a lot of bites in Mississippi from copperheads."

He said the Mississippi corn snake has the misfortune of looking a lot like the venomous copperhead, and is often unnecessarily killed.

The simplest advice is really all that's necessary when it comes to dealing with snakes. Don't give them a reason to be near your home, and just "leave them alone. Use that good ole common sense your grandpa gave ya."

The Mississippi State Extension Service has a wealth of information on snakes in our state. Click here to learn more about identifying snakes.  Or click here for more information about reducing snake problems around your home.

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