Identifying and Managing Poisonous Snakes in Charleston, SC

Updated April 16, 2024
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At Alpha Wildlife Charleston, we understand the concerns of Charleston, SC residents when it comes to living alongside wildlife, particularly venomous snakes. Our beautiful region’s diverse ecosystems make it a habitat for several poisonous snake species. For both homeowners and business owners, knowing how to recognize these snakes and respond to encounters is essential for ensuring everyone’s safety.

Recognizing Poisonous Snakes in Charleston, SC

In Charleston and the surrounding areas, several venomous snakes could pose a risk. Here’s how to identify them:

  • Copperheads: These snakes are relatively common and can be identified by their copper-colored heads and distinctive hourglass-shaped bands. They tend to freeze when threatened, increasing the risk of accidental encounters.
  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes: Known for their formidable size and distinctive rattling sound, these snakes bear a pattern of diamond-shaped markings down their back. They prefer dry pine forests and dense underbrush.
  • Cottonmouths (Water Moccasins): Often found near water, cottonmouths are recognizable by their thick, muscular bodies and the white interior of their mouths, visible when threatened.
  • Coral Snakes: Less common but highly venomous, coral snakes are marked by bright, alternating bands of red, yellow, and black. A useful rhyme to remember is, “Red touch yellow, kill a fellow; red touch black, venom lack.”

Steps to Take if You Encounter a Poisonous Snake

As wildlife professionals, we recommend the following steps if you encounter a poisonous snake:

  1. Maintain a Safe Distance: Never approach a snake. Most snake bites occur when individuals either attempt to move or kill the snake.
  2. Secure the Area: Ensure children and pets are safely away from the area where the snake is spotted.
  3. Do Not Attempt to Handle the Snake: Handling a snake greatly increases your risk of a bite. Leave this to professionals.
  4. Contact Alpha Wildlife: Our expert team is trained in safe, humane removal techniques for venomous snakes. We’re equipped to handle and relocate these animals to appropriate environments without harm.

Preventing Snake Encounters

Prevention is crucial in minimizing the likelihood of unwelcome snake visits. At Alpha Wildlife, we suggest:

  • Maintaining a Clean Yard: Eliminate debris, tall grass, and leaf piles that can offer shelter to snakes.
  • Controlling Rodents: By managing rodent populations, you remove the primary food source that attracts snakes to your property.
  • Sealing Entry Points: Check your home or business for gaps or cracks that snakes could use to enter and seal them effectively.
  • Using Snake Repellent: While not foolproof, snake repellents can help deter snakes from certain areas.

Why Choose Alpha Wildlife for Your Snake Removal Needs?

Alpha Wildlife not only provides expert removal services but also offers comprehensive inspections of your property to identify potential snake attractants and risks. Our team is equipped to offer emergency removal services as well as advice and solutions for long-term prevention. Ensuring the safety of your family, pets, and property is our top priority.


Living with the reality of poisonous snakes in Charleston doesn’t have to be a constant concern. With the right knowledge and support from Alpha Wildlife, you can manage snake encounters safely and effectively. If you spot a poisonous snake, remember to stay calm and call our professionals at Alpha Wildlife. We’re here to help you maintain a safe and secure environment.