Georgia has endangered snakes - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Georgia has endangered snakes

(Source: UGA/David Scott) (Source: UGA/David Scott)

By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Georgia's Department of Natural Resources warns people against killing snakes that come on their property.

In Georgia, it is illegal to kill native, non-venomous snakes.

Workers at Reed Bingham State Park constantly respond to reports of venomous snakes in the area, only to find the snakes aren't poisonous at all.

"People see something in the water, they automatically think it's a cotton mouth or a water moccasin, but most of the time, it could be anything but," said Park Manager Chet Powell.

Rangers say that sadly, it's not uncommon for people to kill any snake that comes on their property.

This is not recommended by the DNR.  "Most of the bites that occur every year in the United States are when people try to kill or catch it," said Powell.

It's actually very easy to tell a venomous snake from a non-venomous. There are only five poisonous snakes in Georgia. Three of them are rattlers, the Diamond Back, the Timber, and the Pygmy Rattle Snake. Their unmistakable rattles make them easy to identify.

Some snakes will act like rattlers, but if you don't hear a rattle, it's not venomous.

 "This snake is one of the most common snakes in Georgia. He's called a Grey rat Snake. Even though he will rattle his tale, he's completely harmless," said Jennifer Glover, an Interpretive Ranger.

The venomous copper head is very distinctive with its bright copper coloring, and it's small size. The last venomous snake is the Cotton Mouth. This guy is easy to spot with its rust-colored banding with a light colored belly, and distinctive black stripes on the eyes.

Snakes help keep rodent populations to a minimum. Leaving them alone will lessen you chances of getting bit, and help Georgia's ecosystem maintain its balance.

Georgia's largest snake, the Eastern Indigo snake is now on the endangered species list. It is commonly killed because of its intimidating size, though they are harmless, and even eat dangerous venomous snakes.

It can be identified by its shiny blue coat.

    • Click HERE to see information on Georgia's poisonous snakes

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