Add this Critter rss news feed to your rss reader.
The small amount of rain we received on Wednesday wasn't enough to put much of a dent in north Alabama's drought. Crops are wilting, the ground is cracking and creepy critters are looking for moisture.
Many WHNT NEWS 19 viewers say you've seen a snake or two come across your lawn in recent weeks. Take care when you're watering your grass or shrubs - you might find one near your feet.
Critter Control, a Huntsville business that helps get rid of pests, has had several calls about snakes in recent weeks.
"Oh yeah, we've had a lot of calls with snakes because it's so hot and dry, they're looking for water," said Lance Moore.
Moore deals with vermin of all kinds - moles, skunks and more - but he still gets a little squeamish sometimes.
"I was underneath a crawl space and the tail of one fell right on my shoulder, and I screamed like a little girl," Moore said, laughing.
Moore has some tips on how to keep your home from being a haven for snakes.
"You gotta make sure your house is secure, leaves and debris are away from your house and make sure you don't have any water leaks underneath your crawl spaces," Moore said.
Moore says air conditioning repairmen and cable company employees often find snakes.
"The last two calls that I've been on for snakes have been around the heating system, with it being so hot the A/C's are running constantly, so condensation is dripping out of the pipes, causing water to build up there," Moore said. "Make sure that area is clean."
Alabama has about 40 species of snakes, and only six are venomous. Snakes serve a purpose - they kill other snakes and rodents. Before you run for that shovel, see if the snake you've encountered really poses a threat or not.
Of the six venomous snake species in Alabama, five are pit vipers. They get this name from the pits on both sides of their face, between the eye and nostril. Pit vipers also have a flat, triangular-shaped head, vertical or "cat-like" pupils, thin necks and heavy bodies. Pit vipers also have retractable, hollow fangs near the front of the mouth.
It can be confusing, because some non-venomous snakes also have wide, triangular-shaped heads. And, you don't necessarily want to get close to any snake in case you're wrong about knowing what type it is!
This guide from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has lots of information that will help you distinguish a venomous snake from one that's not dangerous.
It's a good idea to wear socks and shoes when you're outside, just in case you encounter a snake.
Credits: By Claire Aiello & David Wood - WHNT.com