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Last updated:

September 22, 2023


4 weeks

This course includes:

4 weeks

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

4 weeks


There are 42 species of snakes in South Carolina and Georgia and only 6 of them are venomous. The venomous species that we do have tend to be quite secretive and are some of the least frequently encountered species. The most frequently observed of our resident snakes are black racers, rat snakes, and nonvenomous water snakes, common and important predators in our ecosystems.

The true risk of venomous snakebite and death in the United States is greatly exaggerated. While there are approximately 7000 reported snakebites on an annual basis, an estimated half of these are actual envenomations and the rest are “dry bites” where the snake bites but does not inject venom. On average, there are fewer than 1900 overall animal-related deaths in the country each year; bee and wasp stings and dog attacks account for a majority while snakes only account for 5-6 deaths each year. Most of these accidents occur at home with captive pets and in backyard encounters. Further, the majority of wild bites occur when the person is attempting to harass, kill or handle the snake. White males and young adults (18-28 years old) are the most frequently bitten demographic. Certain precautions can be taken to avoid almost all snake bites, reducing the true threat of snakebite to lower than that of being struck by lightning.
You are most likely to encounter snakes:
1) When they are crossing roads; 2) When they are moving through your backyard or through other transient habitats; 3) During the breeding season (spring or fall) when they are moving to look for mates; 4) When they are basking near habitat edges (e.g., water bodies, forest lines).
Watch your step and Your Reach
Many of our snake species use camouflage to protect themselves from predators or to catch their prey. Accidentally stepping on or grabbing a snake can communicate to that animal that you are trying to harm it, resulting in an aggressive response.
  • Never place your hands, arms, feet or legs where you can’t see them when outdoors. Even reaching under the house for something blindly can cause you to disturb a hiding snake. While venomous snakes generally do not strike when approached or even stepped on, they almost always do if you grab them and/or pick them up whether intentionally or accidentally.
  • Always wear closed shoes and long pants when walking through woods or places where you won’t have clear views of where you step.
  • Walk around logs instead of blindly stepping over them. Some snakes are rodent specialists and feed along with logs.
  • Use a flashlight so you can see the ground at night in areas where venomous snakes might be present.
Remain Calm if You see One
If you encounter a snake, simply step back or, if you are on the road, drive around or let it pass. Most snake encounters are just observations of these animals moving from Point A to B. Remember, they are not interested in harassing you as you are much bigger than they are; they are just going about their business.

Course Curriculum

    • Snake Safety 00:20:00
    • Snake Facts 00:20:00
    • Snakes in Pennsylvania 00:10:00
    • Poisonous Snakes of PA 00:20:00
    • Nonvenomous Snakes of PA 00:20:00
    • Venomous vs Nonvenomous 01:00:00
    • Snake Tips 00:40:00
    • First Aid For Snake Bites 00:40:00
    • Preventing Snake Bites At Work 00:40:00
    • Symptoms of a Snake Bite 00:40:00
    • Snake Feces 00:20:00
    • Snakes in the Attic 00:20:00
    • Summary 00:10:00
    • Snake Safety Training Test 00:45:00

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