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Critters in the News

  • "Wild Pigs are becoming
    larger and  more
  • "House Fire in Altamote
    Springs caused by
  • "Raccoons attack
    woman in Lakeland"-
  • "Rats overrun Orlando
    International Airport
    despite efforts to
    eradicate them"-   LAKE
  • "New Orleans 2 Year Old
    dies from blood loss
    caused by rat bites"-      
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The list of snake species found in Central Florida contains over 30 different entries. This list spans ground-dwelling,
subterranean and aquatic species covering our service area from the east to west coast. Luckily, of the snakes on the list,
only four are venomous:

  1. Coral snake (micrurus fulvius) – average length of 20-30 inches, characterized by wide red and black rings separated
    by narrow yellow rings. ground/subterranean dwellers.
  2. Florida cottonmouth (agkistrodon piscivorus) – average length of 20-48 inches, characterized by a wider head than
    neck, a dark banded pattern or uniformly black on the back, camouflaged eyes and 2 vertical stripes on the tip of
    the snout. aquatic dwellers.
  3. Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (crotalus adamanteus) – average length of 36-72 inches, characterized by a wider
    head than neck and patterns of dark diamonds with lighter brown centers and cream colored outlines. ground
  4. Dusky pygmy rattlesnake (sistrurus miliarius barbouri) – average length of 12-24 inches, characterized by a wider head
    than neck and is light or dark grey in color with a brown stripe going down the back. this stripe is interrupted by
    darker grey splotches that are placed uniformly over the snake’s entire body. ground/aquatic dwellers.

    (information taken from the Florida Museum of Natural History)

Each of these snakes has non-venomous imitators who get by their entire lives by tricking predators who think they’re one
of their venomous counterparts. Not to mention any snake, venomous or not, will bite aggressively if it feels threatened. For
these reasons, it is suggested that Central Floridians treat any snake as though it is venomous and leave the snake handling
to the professionals.


Snakes tend to inhabit one of three different terrains in Central Florida: ground, subterranean or aquatic. Some snakes can
dwell in two or all three of these terrains depending on different environmental cues. To further explain:

  • Ground-dwelling snakes are typically found in forests, flatwoods, prairies, bushes, hollow logs, sand, parking lots and
  • Subterranean-dwelling snakes make their nests underground or move into the nests of other ground-digging animals
    such as armadillos and gopher tortoises.
  • Aquatic-dwelling snakes are found in any size body of water from drainage ditches and ponds to swamps, rivers and

Food Habits

These and most snakes in Florida eat small, warm-blooded creatures such as rats and mice. It is commonly accepted that
buildings that with a large population of snakes in the near vicinity also have a large amount of rats in the area, especially if
the snake in question is a black racer or yellow rat snake. Smaller snakes eat little cold-blooded creatures and invertebrates
like lizards, worms, frogs and small fish. Snakes that are smaller still eat insect larvae, centipedes and snails. Florida snakes of
all sizes have a habit of eating many of the creatures we consider pests and serve a large purpose in natural pest control.

Reproduction and Development

Snakes in Florida are either oviparous (egg-laying) or ovoviparous (the egg remains inside the mother until it hatches). As a
general rule, breeding takes place during the late spring, egg-layers lay their eggs in the summer and the hatchlings
(oviparous birth) and neonates (ovoviparous birth) are born in the early fall. Young snakes tend to leave their mothers within
a day of birth and therefore have a very low mortality rate, with oviparous young having the advantage due to the sheer
amount of eggs laid and hatched as opposed to eggs hatched inside of a mother snake. Many oviparous mothers will share
egg-laying sites with other mother snakes, of the same and different species, because of the lack of safe places to lay eggs.

Foraging Behavior

Nocturnal and diurnal snakes can be told apart by the shape of their pupils. Whereas nocturnal snakes’ pupils are vertically
elliptical, diurnal snakes’ pupils are round and some have the cat like tendency to shrink and widen due to the light making
its way through the retina. The majority of food sources for snakes in Florida are nocturnal, making the foraging behaviors
vary from night to day. Nocturnal snakes tend to sneak around and surprise their prey in attack while diurnal snakes are
faster and normally find and eat their prey asleep.

Snake Senses

  • sight – ground snakes have exceptional vision used for hunting, subterranean snakes have much smaller eyes that are
    only capable of sensing light and dark.
  • smell – snakes have a fantastic sense of smell, similar to humans in that odor particles go through the nasal cavities
    into an olfactory organ. apart from that, snakes flick odor particles with their tongue and bring it into their
    Jacobsen’s organs that lead to a second olfactory organ.
  • hearing – snakes do not have an outer ear, sound waves hit the skin and are transferred from skin to muscle to the
    bone of the inner ear.
  • touch – snakes have a special sense of touch geared towards the heat released from other animals and objects. some
    types of snakes, called pit vipers, have pits in their heads that increase the power of this heat sense to the point it
    gives the snakes a view similar to infrared goggles.
  • taste – snakes have little-to-no sense of taste.

Signs of Snake Infestation

  • viewing the snakes on your property
  • finding snake skin shed by a snake on your property


A bite from any of the venomous snakes found in Florida is very serious and should be immediately treated by a doctor. The
symptoms vary but typically resemble influenza. Other than snake venom, snakes, like many other reptiles, are carriers of
salmonella and present a significant risk to humans if handled.

Although the majority of snake bites are from non-venomous snakes, all snake bites should be treated. The mouths of snakes
can hold any number of bacteria, especially if it had recently finished a meal. Rats and mice make up many of these snakes’
diets and it is not uncommon to find germs and bacteria commonly found on rodents in a snake's mouth.
Questions to ask other Wildlife Control
  1. Insurance...can they provide proof of
    Workers Comp & Liability Insurance?
  2. Licensing... can they provide proof of
    Pest Control & Trapping Licenses?
  3. Are they members of the BBB?
  4. Are there "hidden fees" such as per
    animal, per visit, per trap or per week
  5. Do they guarantee their work for at
    least 10 years?
  6. Do they accept credit cards?
If the answer to any these questions are
not satisfactory, call
snakes911 today
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