MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — Neighbors in central Alabama are reporting additional snake sightings in the past several weeks.
A professional snake remover recently posted about relocating two rattlesnakes from a yard in Chelsea.
“This year has actually been a lot more busier than any of the past 5 years that we have been operational,” said Mark Hay of Alabama Snake Removers.
Just last week, Hay removed two copperheads from Ron Downey’s property in Mountain Brook. Downey originally only saw one while walking the dog.
“We were taking the dog out to go to the restroom before we went to bed. It was probably 9 o clock last Wednesday night and we saw the snake,” Downey said.
Downey said he was concerned about the venomous snake because of the family dog, Gemma.
“We were worried about her because we would take her out here, and she would be wandering around here and we were worried she was going to stumble upon the snake and get bitten,” he said.
Hay told CBS 42 that snakes seem to be more active when the weather cools down after a hot summer day. Often times, human interaction comes after work when people are more likely to be outside.
“We want to wear our flip flops and our shorts, and go out walking across our grass in the evening time because it may be just peaceful, but the cooler times that we have during the day are after 6 o clock,” he said.
Hay said that while many people are quick to kill venomous snakes, they do serve a purpose. For example, rattlesnakes eat up an estimated 2,500 ticks each year.
“If 10 people killed a rattlesnake a year, that is 25,000 ticks that are possibly going to latch on to your leg,” he said.
Non-venomous snakes are often confused with venomous ones. Hay said non-venomous snakes are important to the ecosystem and often kill off unwanted pests.
Hay said copperhead venom is being studied for health benefits.
“The venom for those guys is being actively researched to try and cure breast cancer,” he said.
To avoid being a victim of a snakebite, A spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources told CBS 42 the best approach is to leave the reptiles alone.
“They’re going to be more active when the temperatures are warm, you may find them moving about in your yard, or basking on the road, and they’re also laying eggs this time of year, so they’re also out looking for partners to breed with,” said Marianne Hudson, a conservation outreach specialist with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Hudson suggest that if you want to avoid snakes on your property, keep it clean and eliminate food sources.
“Make sure you don’t have a lot of places for them to hide. Brush piles, junk piles, pieces of tin laying around,” she continued.
Hay also recommends watching for bird feeders, berry bushes, and locusts.
“Copperhead loves to feast on locusts, so when these locusts come out of the ground and you start seeing an abundance of those, definitely be aware of your surroundings and the potential for copperheads,” he said.
The Downeys have made some changes in hopes of avoiding another snake sighting this summer.
“We’ve got some bushes that we’ve trimmed back and we are extra careful now, especially at night when we take the dog out now,” Downey said.
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