Among the 27 snake species inhabiting Maryland, there are only 2 that are venomous. And one of them you should be familiar with—the Northern Copperhead. When it comes to snake removal in Maryland, we do get plenty of calls about copperheads, as well as copperhead look-alikes. Copperhead bites, although not deadly, are rather unpleasant and may take a week or longer to heal. The best strategy is not to get bitten and get the dangerous snake removed from your property as soon as possible, which our techs will be happy to assist you with.
Basic Facts About the Northern Copperhead
Length: about 24 to 36 inches Color: copper-red or brownish but not too bright Pattern: hourglass pattern with the narrow part of the hourglass falling on the middle of the back Eyes: yellow with vertical pupils Northern Copperheads mate in spring and sometimes in the fall. They typically birth their young from July through October. If you had just two copperheads on your property, by the end of summer you could have 7-10 if they find your conditions favorable. Copperheads are rather social and don’t mind denning or hibernating next to other snakes. They tend to return to their old hibernation sites, and they also have separate summer feeding grounds, so copperheads migrate between the two.
How to Avoid Getting Bitten by a Copperhead
Copperheads are not generally aggressive, but they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. Males can also be aggressive around the mating season in spring or fall. If you come across a copperhead, watch out for these signs, as it means the snake will attack if provoked:
- Coiled body
- Head at a 45-degree angle
- Vibrating tail
- Intimidating stare
If you see any snake in this pose, step away and call your local Maryland snake removal company right away.
Know Where to Expect a Copperhead
Most snake bites, including copperhead bites, happen when people stumble upon snakes by accident. Copperhead has a nice camouflage that makes it hard to pick out of vegetation, especially fallen leaves. And when the snake is not basking in the sun, it’s usually hunting or hiding in hard-to-reach areas. Be especially careful when you:
- Have to walk through tall grass
- Do yard work
- Go hiking in the woods
- Work in or near thick brush or bushes
- Disturb landscaping
In addition to the above, avoid walking outside barefoot.
What to Do if You’ve Been Bitten
You don’t always see the snake when or after the bite happens. It’s possible you’ve just stepped on it by accident. Don’t ignore the random pains you experience and be sure to take a look. What feels like a stubbed toe could actually be a snake bite. The affected area typically swells up right away, which is a sure sign of a venomous snake. If you get bitten, follow these steps:
- Don’t attempt to suck the venom out
- Wash the bite with soap and water if you can’t get medical help right away
- Have someone take you to the emergency room
- Don’t take any medications unless prescribed by a doctor
Copperhead bites are rarely fatal, but it doesn’t mean you should skip the trip to the hospital. Get your bite checked out by a doctor right away. If you’ve seen copperheads on your property before and want to ensure they won’t be posing risk to your outdoor activities this summer, get in touch with Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control.
The summer is almost here and and we can finally pack away the warm winter clothes and enjoy the shorts and bare feet type of weather. But as you are playing with your dog in your back yard or cleaning out dead brush from your property, keep in mind that you are not the only one enjoying the sun. By now, most Maryland snakes have come out of hibernation to catch some rays and find some prey to hunt. And while they regard humans as more of a threat than a food source, unpleasant encounters with snakes are quite possible. Our Maryland snake removal experts are happy to share a few safety tips for you to keep in mind this summer.
Know Your Venomous Snakes
Of course, getting bitten by a non-venomous snake can be just as painful, but it’s not as dangerous. Thankfully, there are only two venomous snake species in Maryland, so you should be able to easily remember and identify them.
Timber rattlesnakes prefer rocky terrain, which is why the are more common in western Maryland counties, such as Frederick County and Garret County. This is a rather low-profile snake in terms of coloration: it’s brownish with uneven, ring-like dark brown or black pattern. You would expect a poisonous snake to be brightly colored, but not this one. However, it’s the only snake in Maryland that has a rattle on its tail—so this is your number one identification tip. If you hear rattling, stay away!
The Northern Copperhead is common throughout the North-Eastern U.S., including Maryland. You can tell it apart by its distinct tannish-copper color and hourglass-like pattern on its skin. Below is a video of how to identify this snake if you happen to encounter it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=241&v=Bn87btHPS5E
Know Where to Expect Snakes
Snakes are cold-blooded creatures, so in summer they regulate their temperature through sun exposure. They may come out and lie in the sun to warm up or hide in the shade to keep cool, depending on the temperature of the surroundings. Many snakes are also nocturnal, so they tend to stay hidden during the day and come out to hunt at night. Here are some of the places around your property where a snake may find a nice spot to build a den or hide:
- In a pile of wood, brush, rocks or fallen leaves
- Underneath the deck or porch
- Underneath steps and landscaping stones
- In cracks inside concrete patios, porches and sidewalks.
- In or underneath rarely used storage sheds and other outdoor structures
- In tall grass
- On a hiking trail
When you are doing yard work or any other activity around these areas, be careful and watch out for snakes. Some smaller snakes may make it into your home through small gaps and cracks—they often hide in basements and other dark and humid places.
Know How to Deal With a Snake
First of all, see if you can tell for sure whether the snake is poisonous. If it’s not and it’s your first encounter with a snake on your property, slowly back away and let it escape. Snakes are generally not aggressive and won’t attack unless you pose a threat. For this reason, never try to chase the snake away, kill it or handle it, whether it’s poisonous or not. If you step on a snake by accident and get bitten, seek medical help right away. If the snake was poisonous, you may not have much time to take the anti-venom. If you’ve encountered a poisonous snake on your property or inside your home, it’s best to call Maryland snake removal professionals to take care of it. There may be a snake den somewhere in your back yard, which may pose risk to your family and pets. Contact us today if you need help reclaiming your yard from snakes!