Snakes are legless, carnivorous reptiles that together constitute the order Serpentes. We have almost 40 species of snakes in South Carolina. But only six species are venomous: the Copperhead, the Canebrake (or Timber) Rattlesnake, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Pygmy Rattlesnake, the Water Moccasin (or "Cottonmouth"), and the Eastern Coral Snake. The rest of our snakes are all harmless.
All snakes, however, are beneficial animals -- even the venomous ones. Their biggest gift to us is that they eat rodents and insects, almost all of which do us far more harm than the snakes themselves.
If you have a vegetable garden, for example, you should be mighty grateful if a snake decides to take up residence there. They'll eat the rodents and many of the destructive insects that harm your crops, but they'll leave the crops themselves alone. Organic gardeners in particular like having snakes around because they help eliminate the need for pesticides.
Snakes' contributions to maintaining the balance of nature and their fondness for eating insects and animals that spread diseases and destroy our crops are among the reasons why snakes enjoy a certain level of respect that many other animals don't get. Both state and federal laws protect snakes; and at Rid-A-Critter, we do, too. Whenever possible, we trap and release snakes unharmed. We're not "snake exterminators." We consider ourselves more like serpent relocation specialists.
As much good as snakes do, there are places where we'd rather not have them. For example, venomous snakes have to be moved any time that they present a threat to people, domestic animals, or livestock. Even non-venomous snakes need to be moved when they get into a house or other structure, or when a homeowner simply doesn't want them around. That's a perfectly valid reason for removing snakes.
Another reason why snakes may need to be relocated is because a lot of people are terrified of them. Even if they're not bothering anyone, many people will avoid any area where there are snakes. In addition, many people can't tell the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes.
Snakes are also problematic in places like playgrounds and recreation areas. Even non-venomous snakes will bite if they're stepped on or afraid; and even though the bites of non-venomous snakes aren't especially harmful, they do hurt. In addition, if the snake slithers away after biting the person, there may be no easy way to tell what kind of snake it was.
What it really comes down to is that in the case of non-venomous snakes (and also venomous ones, to some extent), it's really up to the property owner or manager whether to leave the snakes be or to remove them. Some people don't mind having snakes around, and will even tolerate venomous snakes if they're in an out-of-the-way part of their property where they're not bothering anyone. Other folks, however, dislike snakes and don't want them around no matter how beneficial and harmless they are.
We do a lot of snake-removal work throughout all of our service areas. We do more of it during the summer months because that's when snakes tend to be more active, but we get calls for them in the winter, too.
Some snake jobs are very easy. For example, most of the time we can just snare a snake that's slithering around in a lawn, place it in a bucket, and transport it elsewhere. Other times, such as when a snake is living in a rock wall, it's not so easy. But the toughest snake-removal jobs of all are when the snakes actually get inside a house. Those jobs can be very difficult because the snakes can travel throughout the house by slithering through the wall and ceiling voids.
You might be wondering why a snake would go into a home. The two main reasons are to find food and to regulate their body temperature. Snakes often get into homes that have problems with mice, bats, or other animals that snakes eat. Snakes also spend a great deal of their time looking for the right temperatures. Being cold-blooded animals, they can't internally regulate their own body temperatures; so sometimes they get into homes and other buildings because it's either too hot or too cold for them outside.
When snakes get into homes, the biggest challenge is finding the snake. One we find it, removal is usually pretty simple; and after we remove the snake, we seal up the house or building to keep snakes out in the future. We also investigate to determine whether the snake got in because the customer has a problem with other critters that the snake was planning to eat. If that's the case, we make recommendations for the removal of those animals, as well.
If you have a problem with either venomous or non-venomous snakes, please contact us for more information about how we can help. We service the communities of Columbia and Aiken, South Carolina, as well as all their surrounding areas.
Snake Control Gallery
Rubber snake that customer thought was real
Eastern coral snake, one of our venomous snakes
Aiken, South Carolina snake removal job
Kingsnake found at Aiken SC snake removal job
King snake attacking a rat snake
Jason with a mighty snake. Don't try this at home!
Baby copperhead snake in a rain down spout
Aiken, South carolina snake removal job
Close-up of a copperhead snake's head
King snake removal by one of our technicians
Snake on a sill plate in a basement in Columbia