JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The number of snake bites are up this year for Arkansas.
Residents around Region 8 say snake sightings are up as well.
Cody Walker is the Education Program Specialist at Crowley's Ridge Nature Center and he said even though snakes can be scary for some, they can be extremely helpful as well.
Walker said, "We've got snakes in Arkansas that eat rats, that eat mice, that eat insects. You know they're not out to attack people, they're actually here for a purpose."
Walker said there are a lot of different kinds of snakes in Arkansas, but only 6 species are considered venomous and there are ways that you can check to see which are at first glance.
Walker said there are some things to look for like the diamond shaped head of a venomous snake, but said that technique doesn't always work because non-venomous snakes can have diamond shaped heads as well, but you can look at the eye and if the pupil is elliptical it is venomous, if it is round it is non-venomous.
Dr. Stan Trauth at Arkansas State University said that the only real way to be able to tell if a snake is venomous or not is to educate yourself on the different species and look up the characteristics of the snakes.
Trauth also notes that their is an explanation for the increase in snake sightings.
Trauth said, "Females are giving birth to live young, the water snakes and the venomous snakes are doing that right now so you're getting a larger number."
Both Trauth and Walker said that if you come across a snake leave it alone.