Wildlife biologist shares tips, facts about snake encounters

Wildlife biologist shares tips, facts about snake encounters

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - When it comes to snakes, many people’s initial reaction is fear.

“People are so afraid from all these myths and all these stories about dangerous snakes that they are terrified to even go outside on their own property,” said wildlife biologist Colt Mooney.

Mooney explains there’s no reason to be afraid of snakes.

“The only way you’re going to get bit by a snake is if you aren’t paying attention, you don’t have proper footwear and you step on it accidentally, or you’re intentionally trying to mess with it,” Mooney said. “Once you see it, stop and take three steps back, then turn around and walk away.”

Mooney says snakes aren’t out to get you, but if you do get bitten by a snake, seek medical care.

“There’s a lot of myths out there that you have to identify, you have to take it to the hospital, or that you have to take benadryl or some type of home remedy, but the only thing you should do is go to the hospital,” Mooney said.

Mooney also says many people tend to think snakes are only active during the summer months, but he explains that’s not the case.

“In reality, you can find snakes from January 1 to December 31 in Mississippi,” Mooney said. “Anytime it’s warm enough they’ll come out.”

Mooney and other snake enthusiasts have created a Facebook page dedicated to helping people identify and learn more about snakes.

It has more than 7,000 members.

“The name of the group is Mississippi Snake Forum and Identification page,” Mooney said. “We created the group to kind of put people’s fears into perspective and to give them a way to enjoy what they’ve worked so hard to have as a property owner.”

In Mississippi, there are more than 50 types of snakes, but only six of them are venomous.

The six venomous snakes in Mississippi are the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Coral snake, the Copperhead, the Cottenmouth, the Canebrake Rattlesnake and the Pigmy Rattlesnake.

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