DEEP: Be Aware Of ‘Active’ Snake Season In Connecticut

CONNECTICUT — The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Friday sent out a reminder that that snakes are active this time of year in the Nutmeg State.

DEEP officials said that, if left alone, snakes pose no threat to people, but also acknowledged that snake encounters, whether around the home or along a hiking trail, can be alarming for some people.

With that, the DEEP is offering advice on what to do during snake encounters:


Snakes And People

DEEP officials said snakes serve dual roles as both predators and prey. Their consumption of small mammals helps control rodent and other pest populations, yet they are eaten by many animals, including some mammals and birds of prey.

“Snakes are often needlessly killed by people because of mistaken identity, fear, and misunderstanding,” DEEP Wildlife Division Director Jenny Dickson said. “If you unexpectedly come across a snake, the snake is likely as started as you are. The best course of action is to remain calm. All snakes will retreat from humans if given a chance.”


What To Do

“Do not kill snakes you encounter,” DEEP officials said, while recommending that humans “observe and enjoy snakes from a distance and allow them to go on their way.

“It is important to keep in mind that snake species are shy and non-aggressive,” they added.

The two venomous snake species found in Connecticut are the timber rattlesnake and eastern copperhead, and they are “not widely distributed,” DEEP officials said. Most people are unlikely to encounter a venomous snake around their home, DEEP officials said.

“These two venomous snakes, along with the other 12 Connecticut snake species, will only bite if threatened or handled,” according to DEEP officials.

Some snake species, like garter snakes, are often encountered in yards and around outbuildings. Occasionally, they will enter homes and outbuildings in search of food, DEEP officials said.

A non-venomous snake found in the home can be easily and safely removed. DEEP officials said a pair of garden gloves is sufficient protection from gartersnakes, which prefer to emit an odor (musk) in defense but will occasionally bite when handled, DEEP officials said.

All snakes have teeth. DEEP officials said a bite on an unprotected hand is not dangerous, but can break the skin and be painful and startling. The snake should be picked up carefully to avoid excessive squeezing.

“Snakes have delicate bodies and are easily injured,” DEEP officials said. “Place the snake in a cloth bag or bucket and release it in an area not far from the point of capture so the snake will be in familiar territory. In the rare event of encountering a venomous snake on your property, it is best to leave it alone and allow it to move along.”

To discourage snakes from entering buildings, make sure all cracks in the foundation are sealed. Basement windows should be closed tight or be covered with screens. Most snakes do not require large openings to gain entrance.

Those wishing to discourage snakes from yards can remove the places where they can hide — cut grass short, remove brush and rock piles, and trim shrubs up off the ground, DEEP officials said.

“This will also discourage the prey species snakes feed on, making the yard less attractive to snakes,” DEEP officials said.

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