August 24, 2030
By: Staff Report
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – According to the FWC, snakes are on the move in Florida.
Florida has a rich diversity of snakes and other reptiles which play an interesting and vital role in Florida’s complex ecology. Our 44 species of native snakes are found in every conceivable habitat, from coastal mangroves and saltmarshes to freshwater wetlands and dry uplands, and many species thrive in residential areas. However, there are just a few species that are commonly seen in a developed area, although any snake may occasionally be found in urban settings.
Snakes occupy a valuable place in Florida’s ecosystem. For example, snakes help reduce rodent populations, which destroy crops and sometimes carry diseases which can infect people. Non-venomous snakes also consume venomous ones and can help maintain ecosystem balances. Venomous snakes are also beneficial; for example, some rattlesnake species have been reported to consume ticks in their native ranges.
Only six of Florida’s 44 snake species are venomous: the eastern coral snake, the southern copperhead, the cottonmouth, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the timber rattlesnake, and the dusky pygmy rattlesnake. Most Florida snakes are harmless and beneficial and remove extra rodent populations. Even the venomous species are not particularly dangerous unless stepped on or otherwise provoked.
Most snakes you encounter are most likely to be non-venomous. By recognizing common non-venomous snakes and understanding something of their habits, you can take a more relaxed attitude toward them and appreciate them as an integral part of Florida’s wildlife.
You are more likely to see snakes with higher water levels post-storm. Most snakes you will encounter are likely to be nonvenomous and will be more scared of you than you are of them. If you see a snake, stay back. Snakes are not aggressive toward humans unless they feel threatened. They would much rather avoid encounters and will usually flee. To avoid snake bites, leave snakes alone, stay out of tall grass unless you wear thick boots, and keep hands and feet out of areas you can’t see.
Visit https://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife/ to learn more about Florida Wildlife.