MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After several days of bad weather in the Mid-South, we can expect pooled water and downed trees, but Memphis Zoo officials say you should also keep a close eye out for snakes.
Deanna Lance, Lead of Reptiles and Aquarium at the Memphis Zoo, said the water can flood their habitats and force snakes to find somewhere else to go.
“If you are near areas with water, especially standing water, ponds and lakes that are likely to flood or also small streams which will flood dramatically with heavy rains -- those are areas where you might be more likely to encounter snakes on the move,” Lance said.
She said if you come into contact with a snake, don’t try to capture or kill it.
Instead, Lance recommends leaving the snake alone, and taking two big steps back to be out of strike range.
"A snake will obviously bite to defend itself, so if it is venomous it will attempt to bite you if you are going at it to kill it," she said. "You have to keep that in mind, it's often much safer for you to leave it alone and go about your business."
If you do happen to find a snake on your property, remember that not all of the snakes found in the Mid-South are bad.
“We have a couple of very common snakes in this area,” Lance said. “One of them is the Speckled King Snake -- and this guy is great to have around because he will eat other snakes, including venomous snakes.”
To keep snakes out of your yard, Lance recommends keeping your grass cut short and removing any debris or wood piles from your yard.
“Any place that provides cover for rodents, like rats and mice, snakes will follow soon behind,” she said.