It's summertime and the snakes are crawling, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. That means hikers, hunters, fishermen or those doing yard work around the house could come upon one of the many common reptiles.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources provides a website to assist with general information and identification of common snake species of the Upstate. It does not offer a similar listing of Lowcountry snakes, although the regions have several in common, including copperheads, rattle snakes and non-poisonous varieties like the red-bellied snake.
The site also invites the public to submit digital photos of snakes, along with information about the county where they were found, for assistance in identification.
Snakes are active throughout the warm months, typically from March through October. In the Lowcountry, that period can extend into November and start in late February. Some of their periodic activities during the year include winter "hibernation," mating, and shedding their skins. Summer (mid-July to mid-September) is the time when baby snakes are born. For the most part newborn snakes (4 to 8 inches long, depending on the species) look like miniature versions of their parents in coloration and pattern. Also, like the young of many wildlife species, they tend to wander in search of their own place to live. In doing this the stray youngsters are frequently encountered by people.
Snakes are to be respected, but not feared and, if at all possible, not killed, according to some local naturalists. You might remember a story we did back in March about Dave Harris of Callawassie Island -- the Snake Man -- who relocates snakes discovered by neighbors in Callawassie and on Spring Island when they slither onto people's property or into their garages and tool sheds.
And here, Tony Mills of the Lowcountry Institute and host of Coastal Kingdom on the County Channel explains the canebreak rattlesnake in this 2010 episode.