MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- The recent rain fall has some critters on the move… snakes.
Working in the yard can lead to some surprises the cold-blooded and sometimes poisonous kind.
Professional Python hunter Bill Booth says a snake can squeeze through small places. Booth says a pygmy rattlesnake needs just a 1/4 of an inch. “If they can put their head in there go right through and be in your shed or your house,” says Booth.
A Lakewood Ranch homeowner found a pygmy rattler in their yard this week.
Booth says, “I stumbled on a banded water snake it’s common. If you live in the country or Lakewood Ranch, you’re gonna have them snakes around with this water.”
Bill Booth knows…he’s a professional python hunter. During one challenge he caught the largest python-- over 15-feet-long.
Booth says snakes have a purpose. “Snakes have a purpose they’re part of a fragile ecosystem out here they do their part. Snakes are good they keep the rat population down.”
Some snakes like the Florida King snake and the Eastern Indigo…their purpose is to eat rattlesnakes!
Ricardo Carelli, a snake expert at Sarasota Jungle Gardens says these snakes are “immune to venom and are nonvenomous.”
Snake experts say if you see one don’t kill them…but be aware of them.
Booth says, “The water snake is at home in the water get active with the water level coming up moving around. You got rattle snakes like that higher up dryer area…trying to get on dry ground when we have flooding going on.”
Booth says wear shoes or gardening boots when working in the yard.
Before you garden shake things up a bit to scare off any unwanted visitors. Also, make sure to wear thick gardening gloves before digging in and tap the bottom of the pot before planting in case there’s a snake hiding inside.
Carelli says clear out yard clutter too. “Tall grass things like that area avoid…they like hiding in those areas make sure to hide pots and things like that.”
Remember in Florida it’s not if you cross paths with a snake but more likely when.
“It’s inevitable it’s all around,” says Booth. He adds, “Florida is a wild place got a lot of wildlife here.”
Something to keep in mind before you start killing snakes.. out of the 50 species of snakes in Florida, only six are venomous and dangerous.