Wet weather brings out the snakes in South Carolina

(Source: Josh Braunreuther/WCIV)

By Stacy

EDISTO ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- There are almost 40 species of snakes in South Carolina and though you may not always be able to see them, they are always there.

Audra Payne is a mother of four. She brought her family to the Edisto Island Serpentarium Thursday to learn more about snakes.

"They're definitely a worry," she said.

Heyward Clamp is a partial owner of the Serpentarium. He called snakes "masters of camouflage."

"I think a lot of people would be surprised to know how many they walk by and don't know it," Clamp said.

People don't realize snakes are around because they hide in cool places: under logs, in the trees or in shrubs. And when it rains, it forces them out of such places. The areas flood and they have to find drier ground. But rain also cools the air. Snakes like to stay cool, and follow their food.

"Like a hunting dog they can smell better when the ground is wet. They pick up the scent of a prey animal," Clamp said.

He said South Carolina has four species of venomous snakes. The most common is the copperhead and they can live anywhere. But he said if you do walk by one and notice it, do not make any sudden moves. Just keep going and it will probably not bother you.

Clamp said copperheads will live anywhere.

"They go in people's yards, live in denser woods than most snakes. They live in trash piles, ditches, roadsides," he said.

Payne said she taught her children to take every snake seriously.

Experts say if you ever come across a snake and you don't know if it's venomous or not, to call animal control immediately.