JACKSON, Miss.- Seeing more snakes slithering around? Experts say there is a reason for that.
According to the Mississippi Natural Science Museum there are 55 species of snakes in Mississippi. Good news, the ones you’re seeing moving around probably aren’t dangerous.
Only six of the 55 species in the state are venomous. Those include Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, Cottonmouth (or Water Moccasins and Coral Snakes.) Often you can look at the shape of a snakes head to determine if it is venomous.
However, if you aren’t sure it is always best to walk away.
The warmer weather causes snake season to heat up and if flooding occurs often snakes can come out of nowhere.
Megan Fedrick the education Coordinator for the Museum in Jackson told WLOX that all snakes can bite so watch where you’re walking, sitting, or put your hands.
If you are bitten call 911.
Hopefully, you saw the snake that bit you. If not, professional snake grabber Brent Shorter says there’s a way to tell immediately if you’re in trouble.
“A non-venomous snake has lots of teeth. If you’re bitten by a venomous snake, it’s like two needles injecting you.”
So you walk up on a snake. How can you tell if it’s venomous or not? That tale you’ve heard about the shape of the head isn’t always accurate.
“A diamondback water snake, when you aggravate it, will flatten its head out, making you think it’s a water moccasin,” says Shorter.
The only other surefire ways to tell, says Shorter, is by getting up-close-and personal–maybe too close for comfort.
“The non-venomous snakes you see around here have round eyes. Venomous snakes have cat-like eyes.”
If that’s too close for comfort, there’s another easy way to avoid a bite.
“If you see a snake, just leave it alone,” says Shorter, “most snake bites in Mississippi, around the world, come because people are bugging the snakes first.”
Want to find out more about snakes? You can visit the exhibit at the Natural Science Museum arriving on June 7th. They will have live snakes and experts to answer your questions.
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