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Don't worry too much. Most snakes are harmless and beneficial to humans. Nonvenomous or harmless snake species outnumber venomous (poisonous) snakes by more than 10 to 1 in Florida, and the ratio is even bigger elsewhere in the United States. Most of the snakes you will see are not harmful and can simply be left alone unless you are very afraid of snakes and want them removed. However, if you remove that king snake or black racer or indigo snake from your backyard, you actually increase your chances of a venomous snake moving in. Those snakes (and some others) eat venomous snakes, and you are lucky indeed to have one of these scaly guardians living on your property. It is illegal to touch or pick up an indigo snake unless you have a special permit to rescue and relocate these animals. It is usually best to leave harmless snakes alone.
If you are very afraid of snakes and want them removed anyway, a service called Snake Removal has field herpetologists in most states of the US, and can be reached at 1-800-339-9470.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|