There are forty species of snakes in Alabama. Six of them are venomous. Most Alabama snakes are not venomous and should be left undisturbed whenever possible. Snakes eat rodents and insects; and, king snakes eat other snakes – including venomous ones.
If you are bothered by the presence of a snake around your home, you should take steps to clear your property of habitat that would be attractive to them. Piles of firewood or debris and tall grassy or overgrown areas are attractive spots for foraging anddenning.
Despite your best efforts to discourage snakes from inhabiting your home and garden, you may find an occasional unwelcomed guest of the reptilian persuasion lurking about. DeKay’s Brown snakes (non-venomous) are sometimes found swimming in pools, and rat snakes (also non-venomous) have been found in garages, chicken coops, and the occasional toilet! Before you decide to kill a snake in your garden or barn, you should determine whether or not the snake poses a danger.
Most people are not willing to tolerate a snake of any sort inside their home.
There are several snake traps on the market, but in most cases non-venomous snakes are easily removed by picking it up with a long handled hoe. No matter how you capture the snake, release it in suitable habitat so that he can continue to remove unwanted rodents and other pests from your property.
Five of the six poisonous snakes in Alabama are classified as pitvipers.They have pits on both sides of the face between the eye and nostril. They have cat-like pupils, thin necks with heavy bodies. They have triangle shaped heads, as do some non-venomous snakes like water snakes and some rat snakes.
Pit vipers have retractable, hollow fangs near the front of the mouth, and include the following species found in Alabama: diamondback rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake,pygmy rattlesnake, copperhead, and cottonmouth.
The only venomous snake in Alabama not classified as a pit viper is the coral snake. Adults can grow to about three feet in length, but they are quite thin compared to the pit vipers. The head is black on top and the snout is black as well. The body markings are a series of red, yellow, and black bands. Coral snakes spend most of their time underground in loose soils and will bite if threatened. There are several nonvenomous snakes in Alabama that resemble the coral snake. Most are easily distinguished from venomous snakes by their round pupils and small heads.; however,the safest way to tellthem from coral snakes is to check the sequence of color bands. If the red and black bands touch, the snake is not venomous. Remember, “Red on black – friend of Jack.”
There is one Alabama snake on the endangered species list.The Eastern indigo snake is the longest snake in the United States and uses the burrows of gopher tortoises and armadillos to lay its eggs. It is punishable by law to capture or kill this animal. They are rare, so if you see one, you should notify a conservation officer or wildlife biologist at the Alabama Cooperative Extension or the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.