Snakes are limbless, elongated, flexible reptiles. Out of 2,900 species of snakes, 375 are venomous. Snakes feed on a variety of things from termites, rodents, birds, and frogs to even small deer and other reptiles. They can eat their prey whole due to their lower jaw being able to separate from their upper jaw. Constrictor snakes have a muscular body that wraps tightly around their prey, gripping it until it suffocates, while venomous snakes kill their prey by injecting them with venom from their fangs.
Snakes are indigenous to Florida, and residents should be aware of the various species in the event you find one on your property or in your home. Here is a list of some commonly found snakes in Jacksonville, Florida:
- The eastern coral snake ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 feet in size; these snakes tend to stay underground or underneath objects such as logs or leaf piles. Eastern coral snakes have red, yellow, and black bands with a bulbous head. They are reclusive and only bite humans when handled or stepped on. For them to inject their venom fully, they must chew on their prey, so most humans do not often die from being bitten.
- Water moccasins are venomous and can be found in slow-moving bodies of water. A juvenile water moccasin has bright rust-colored bands and a yellow tail, while adults are usually dark brown or black.
- Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are the largest venomous snake in Florida and are usually between three and six feet long. Young eastern diamondbacks are venomous the day they are born. These snakes can be identified by their diamond pattern with beige borders and brown centers with a tail that rattles when threatened. Extreme caution should be taken when approaching an eastern diamondback since these snakes can strike up to two-thirds of their body lengths.
- Pygmy rattlesnakes only measure one to two feet in length and can be recognized by their grey appearance with dark patches and a dark band that runs from the eyes to the jaw. They are found in a wide variety of habitats from dry forests to wetland marshes.
- Black racers are nonvenomous, but will readily bite to defend themselves. This snake is most likely to be seen by Floridians in residential areas during the daytime. If discovered, the racer will rely on its speed and agility to flee for shelter and avoid capture.
- Garter snakes are harmless, non-venomous with a definitive stripe along the spine. The garter snake is often found in rock walls, under steps, or along building foundations because of its desire to have a den.
- The red rat snake is known to be the best climbing species of snake in Florida. This snake varies in color but is usually a yellowish-tan to orange with large red or faded patches located on its back, a V shape on the top of its head with dark marks on the belly. The red rate snake is not dangerous to humans and uses constriction to suffocate its prey.
- Yellow rat snakes can grow up to ten feet but usually grow five to seven feet. Nonvenomous, usually greenish with tints of yellow and orange, and four dark stripes that run along the length of its body, yellow rat snakes do not often pose a problem to humans.
You can help snakes keep their distance from you and your family by making sure you keep your grass and plants short, minimalizing clutter that may be on your property, and keeping food sources away from your home. If you come in contact with snakes, Critter Control of Jacksonville is fully licensed and trained to identify and safely handle the removal of these intruders. Call us today at 904-221-8633 for your estimate.