There are about 40 species of snakes in Georgia, and all of them are beneficial -- even the venomous (or "poisonous") ones. This is why snakes are not considered "pests," but rather "nuisance wildlife," and stricter laws apply to their control.
Snakes are reptiles that have their own taxonomic order, Serpentes. They're legless, carnivorous reptiles that feed on animals ranging from insects to small mammals. That's one of the main reasons why snakes are considered beneficial animals: They help keep the rodent population down.
Like all reptiles, snakes are ectothermic, or "cold-blooded" animals that lack the autonomous ability to regulate their body temperature using using their own internal heat production. Instead, they use external heat to maintain their body temperatures, mainly by moving themselves to places where the temperature suits their needs.
Because maintaining their body temperature is vital to their survival, snakes spend a great deal of time slithering around trying to find just the right amount of warmth. We find them in all sorts of places, literally anywhere in a house from the basement to the attic. The temperature is the number one thing they care about. If it's too hot or too cold, they can't survive. The seconds thing they care most about is finding food. When we find snakes in attics, we almost always find a bat or rodent problem, as well. The snakes follow the other animals' scent to the attic to eat them.
Like reptiles in general, snakes are self-sufficient from the moment they start their lives. Their parents don't provide any care for them. They have to fend for themselves from the moment they're born or hatched.
Snakes aren't very popular, as wildlife goes. Not too many people think they're cute or cuddly. In fact, a lot of people positively hate snakes -- or at least are very afraid of them. That's kind of a shame because snakes are beneficial animals, and most of them are completely harmless to humans.
The thing you have to understand is that all snakes are carnivores, and most of the things they eat are animals that we consider pests. Most of our Georgia snakes, for example, have a taste for rodents and eat rats and mice. I suppose you could say that they're nature's exterminators. Without snakes, rat and mouse populations would skyrocket.
Smaller snakes like garter snakes are also helpful, especially in gardens, where they eat many of the insects, grubs, and small rodents that devour or damage the crops. Because snakes aren't interested in your flowers or vegetables, having a few non-venomous snakes in your garden is something to be grateful for.
Most of the snakes in and around Athens and throughout Georgia are non-venomous and harmless, but a few of our snake species possess the ability to produce venom. The venom of some snakes is potent enough to kill a person.
The venomous snakes commonly found in Georgia are:
All the rest of our snakes are non-venomous and really should be left alone if they're outdoors and not bothering anyone. They do no harm and much good. But unless you're a snake expert, you shouldn't assume that any snake is non-venomous. A lot of venomous snakes look like non-venomous snakes, and vice-versa. So call us instead for a positive identification.
Snakes outdoors are overwhelmingly beneficial, but snakes inside a house need to be removed. Snakes outside a house may also need to be removed, depending on where they are and whether they're venomous or not.
For example, even non-venomous snakes may eat eggs or small birds, so you wouldn't want them around chickens. Many livestock animals are also afraid of snakes and will become highly agitated if snakes are around. And obviously, you wouldn't want snakes living around your children's play area.
There also are people who a deathly afraid of all snakes, and who simply can't deal with having them around. That's also a perfectly acceptable reason to humanely capture them and move them elsewhere.
Venomous snakes, of course, have to be moved if they're anywhere near where humans might accidentally sit or step on them.
Snake control keeps us pretty busy year-round, but especially in the summer months, when snakes are more likely to be seen basking in the sun. We also encounter snakes in the winter when they've gotten into homes, and make the mistake of being found by the homeowners -- often after peacefully coexisting, unnoticed, for quite a long time.
Snake removal work ranges from the very simple to very complex. A simple snake-removal job would consist of capturing a snake that's basking on the ground, tossing it in a bucket, and taking it elsewhere. Snake removal inside a house can be more difficult both because the snakes can be harder to find and because it may be necessary to seal the house to keep snakes out.
Either way, we're happy to help. If you have unwelcome snakes in your home or on your property, please contact us for more information.
Snake Control Gallery
Jeff with a king snake caught in Athens, Georgia
King snake attacking a rat snake
Baby copperhead snake in a rain down spout
Rubber snake that customer thought was real
Jason with a mighty snake. Don't try this at home!
King snake removal by one of our technicians
Snake removed from under a house in Athens
Rat snake removed from under a porch in Athens
Brown snake removed from a home in Monroe
Close-up of a copperhead snake's head
Eastern coral snake, one of our venomous snakes