Snakes on a grill? More snakes seeking shelter from extreme heat - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Snakes on a grill? More snakes seeking shelter from extreme heat

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As Summer heats up so do the chances for encountering critters like snakes. It is that time of year that keeps wildlife control companies busy.

Crowds gather at the Tennessee Aquarium to take a look and even pet a pine snake. The Aquarium gives educational tutorials to let the public know just how important snakes are to the local ecosystem.

"I think people really don't recognize how valuable they are. They really are good predator control. They feed heavily on rodents and other small animals like that," says Dave Collins.

Collins is the curator of forests at the Aquarium.

"Basically I oversee everything that's not a fish," says Collins.

He says do not be surprised if you are seeing more snakes especially with the hot weather.

"This is prime time for snakes. With this hot weather it creates a new challenge for them because they are looking for moisture," says Collins.

Many Channel 3 viewers say they have found snakes in a variety of places like their grill  or even their mailbox, trying to take cover from the heat.

 "I've even found a little ring neck snakes, which are a totally harmless little ground snake, I found him under the flashing on my roof. It's like, 'why did he go there?'"

Collins says most of them are harmless.

"In our area there are so few snakes that could do you really harm at all."

There are four venomous species in Tennessee. The only two snakes in our area to be on the lookout for are the timber rattle snake, which is rare, and the copperhead.

"They are venomous. You don't want to mess with them. But they're very shy and cryptic," says Collins.

A local wildlife removal expert tells Channel 3 he has had 10 snake removal calls so far this month.

Collins says they won't bother you if you don't bother them.

"Snakes are very reclusive animals. The last thing they want is to have an encounter with a human," says Collins.

Wildlife experts urge you to not kill a snake if you see one or try to handle one because that's when bites occur. Instead call a professional removal company. They will relocate them. Many times local farmers want them on their property for rodent control.

If you find a snake inside your home that may be an indication you have a rodent problem and may want to call pest control.

And to answer the question in the beginning of the story, why do snakes stick out their tongues? It's because they are "tasting the air", sensing nearby food or other predators.  







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