Snakes, bears, rodents: Why sightings are on the rise in the Upstate

Snakes, rodents, bears... Oh my.

Tis the season for sightings of creatures most people try to stay away from.

Lately, a quiet walk in the woods for Margaret Corn and Irene Campbell in Lyman has become a little more exciting.

"I called out and I went Margaret, and she said Snake!"

The friends had a close encounter with a black snake when we met up with them Monday morning.

Sightings are everywhere in the Upstate, and documented all over social media. 
Billy Jolly found two Sunday morning in his Wellford backyard. 
"I'm not afraid of them, I've been bit a million times I guess and it just feels like a little briar stick, it's nothing to it," he said.

Of course, he knows a safe snake from a venomous one.

Hugh Holliday, a Game Warden with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources says snake sightings spike as the weather warms, but he only 3 of the 38 species in the Upstate are venomous.   The most common, is the copperhead. 
"The smaller the poisonous snake the more dangerous they are because they cannot control their venom as well as a more adult snake can," he said.

Venomous snakes usually have 3 things in common.

1. A diamond shape head
2. Slit eyes (like a cat)
3. A depression between their eyes and nostrils 

Springtime also increases your chances of seeing a lot of other creatures you usually don't normally during the day time like opossums, skunks and foxes, and it's a time of year when diseases like distemper spreads.

"Then before you know it this whole neighborhood will have 5-6 animals walking around in the daytime shaking and quivering acting very weird and strange," said Holliday.

He warns, right now bear cubs will be rummaging for any food they can get.   

And don't go near the geese.

"If you get around a goose's egg this time of year, you're going to get attacked.  They're coming to get you," he said.

Corn and Campbell aren't giving up their morning stroll, but they'll definitely be vigilant.
'It is snake season, and you have to watch where you walk, look down as you're walking, that's the main thing."

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