Some people freak out just seeing a snake on a webpage, especially if it’s in an infested house. Others love the slithering creatures and cuddle up with them as family pets.
Love them or hate them, snakes are cause for excitement. We’re out to learn more about where these fear-inducing reptiles are most abundant.
If you dare, join us.
What to Know When Visiting Snake-Infested States
Many RVers and nomads love visiting the wilds of our fabulous 50 states. Should they be concerned that some areas might be snake infested? Not really. With a little respect and information, people can be in harmony with snakes. Learning how to identify them can help ease people’s fears. And, with simple precautions, you can safely avoid or admire these legless neighbors.
First, just leave snakes alone. Most bites occur when people try to touch or kill a snake. Keep a distance of at least six feet, your pets too. Avoid putting your hands and feet in places you can’t see. Appropriate footwear like boots and long pants are excellent preventives.
Okay, so you got bitten. Don’t freak out. And whatever you do, do NOT cut the bite wound and try to suck the venom out. Don’t use a tourniquet. Don’t drink alcohol, take drugs, or apply heat or cold packs.
DO stay calm. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department if you’re concerned. The best thing for doctors is if you’re lucky enough to get a photo of the offender.
Don’t try to kill or capture it. Keep the bite wound below your heart if at all possible. No cell service? Walk to where you can make an emergency call. It’s better than trying to help yourself.
7 Snake Infested US States
Some of our favorite travel destinations are known for their wildlife. They also have an abundance of snakes. Here are seven states with an amazing diversity of these creatures.
Texas is home to over 105 different species and subspecies of snakes. Sounds snake-infested, no? Actually, out of that whopping number, Texas Parks and Wildlife reports that only fifteen could be potentially dangerous to humans.
You name it; Texas has it. The state’s triple-digit hot summers are perfect for these reptiles, from rattlesnakes to coral snakes. Despite this, the state reports more yearly deaths from lightning strikes than from snakebites.
“If people come across one snake, it’s not necessarily an indication that there’s a larger infestation,” says Greg Pandelis, curator of the Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center at The University of Texas at Arlington. We hope you snake-adverse people find that comforting.
Arizona does not have the most snake species per state, but it does have the highest number of poisonous reptiles. These include 16 dangerous snakes with over a dozen species of rattlesnakes. The arid, warm climate and desert scrublands are perfect for the cold-blooded serpents. Yikes!
There are approximately 60 species of snakes, most of which are harmless. According to iNaturalist, Arizona’s ten most-sighted snakes include four venomous and six nonvenomous snakes.
Snake-infested or not, Arizona is a popular spot for travelers. We find understanding what may live in your favorite out-of-the-way campsite worthwhile.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning on visiting the Grand Canyon while in Arizona, keep an eye out for these Most Dangerous Creatures in Grand Canyon National Park.
Alabama’s geography is unique, with five distinct physiographic regions. Combine those with the state’s humid subtropical climate, and you have the perfect mix for 93 native reptile species, of which 49 are snakes.
Most of Alabama’s snakes are nonvenomous and often mistaken for one of six venomous species. Wildlife experts encourage people to learn the difference between the two groups. Both benefit the environment, and it’s valuable information to know when encountering a snake in the wild.
Three native species, the Eastern indigo snake, the Southern hognose snake, and the mimic glass lizard, have not been seen in many years. Efforts to bring back the eastern indigo are underway.
Admire or despise, for outdoorsy people, the warmer months of the South are when people need to keep an eye out for snakes.
California is an attractive state for RVers and outdoor adventure lovers. The state has 46 identified snake species, seven of which are venomous. While incredibly rare and disliking the cold Pacific coastal waters, scientists even noted the sighting of a dead yellow-bellied sea snake.
Some of California’s native venomous snakes are the well-known western rattler and western diamondback. The famous sidewinder gets its name from the unusual movements adapted to sand in arid areas. An unusual Panamint rattlesnake senses heat and usually moves away before you know it’s there.
Most of California’s snake population is in the southern part of the state. The climate is less favorable to snakes in Northern California, and the area has fewer venomous ones.
Oklahoma State University reports the vast majority of the more than 40 snakes that call the state their habitat are nonvenomous. In 2019, a doorbell camera captured a snake leaping onto a man and biting him as he opened a door. The video went viral.
These incidents are rare, says pediatric physician Dr. Banner at INTEGRIS Health.
Experts note that snakes would prefer to avoid people. You have little to fear unless you’re a rodent, frog, or insect (or another snake.)
Prime snake season is warmer weather, peaking in August. Most of Oklahoma’s venomous snakes are found in moist areas. The rest are on the prairies and rocky ridges.
Snakes are common across Georgia, including in urban and suburban areas. As our population grows, we expand into the snake’s habitat. So naturally, encounters between humans and snakes will increase. Experts are quick to point out, though, that this experience is relatively infrequent, and the area isn’t truly snake-infested.
Georgia boasts 46 snake species. Two are on the threatened species list – the eastern indigo and southern hognose.
Some species are incredibly beautiful and economically beneficial too. They eat rats, mice, and other animals deemed to be pests. As bioindicators, snakes help assess pollutants in terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems.
Mississippi has some of the most beautiful state parks in the country. People are naturally drawn to them for the outdoor recreation they provide. Keep an eye out for one of more than 50 types of snakes that call the state home.
For snake enthusiasts, many are unusual and harmless to people and pets. However, you’ll want to have some healthy respect for the state’s six venomous snakes.
The southern copperhead cleverly blends with the environment, while the cottonmouth tends to hang in aquatic areas. “Red touch yellow will kill a fellow,” goes the old saying, so it’s best not to play with the colorful eastern coral snake.
Found everywhere but near the Mississippi River is the short and blotchy-colored pygmy rattlesnake. And throughout the southeast but not typically along the Gulf Coast, is the pygmy’s longer cousin, the timber rattlesnake. The eastern diamondback is Mississippi’s longest venomous snake and the largest in North America.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to go for a swim in the Mississippi River, beware of these Dangerous Creatures in the Mississippi River.
Education Can Reduce Your Fears About Snake Infestations
No matter where you travel, having respect for snakes is helpful. Snake-infested may be a bit of a misnomer as we tread on their homes. And if you follow a few basic safety precautions, all should go well.
Each of our featured states has a website with plenty of helpful information about their native snakes. Go to those or download a reptile identification app. They’re great tools for safety purposes. Plus, your kids could get a real kick out of learning more about essential species.
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