WEST ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - Families in West County are finding an unexpected and unwanted impact from flooding: more snakes, some venomous, are washing up in people's yards.
JoJo Collins says his family found a copperhead in the garage at their Wildwood home on Sunday.
“It was like back in this corner. It was just sitting there," said Collins.
His uncle managed to get the snake outside without it hurting anyone. Collins says he's seen snakes outside his family's home every two weeks this summer.
"There’s been a lot of copperheads that have been pushed up out of the lower areas and they kinda get deposited into residential neighborhoods so we get calls from people when they run into them," said Michael Beran, owner of Wildlife Command Center.
Beran says his job is to rescue people from wild animals including bats, raccoons, squirrels, and snakes.
“We’ve probably seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in snake calls this summer because of the flooding I believe," said Beran. “As that water rises, it’s too cold for the snakes and so they try to avoid it and they go to higher ground. Once the water recedes, those snakes stay at higher ground.”
He believes the other reason people are seeing more snakes is because summer is snake mating season.
“In June, the female snakes are out looking for extra food because they are wanting to breed. The male snakes are out looking for the female snakes so there’s a lot of time that you could interact with a snake," said Beran.
Beran tells News 4 the eggs the female snakes lay in July will hatch in September. Each mom can have up to 24 babies.
He says the most common calls he gets are for garter snakes, chicken snakes, and copperheads. Of those, copperheads are the only venomous snakes. While rare, copperhead bites can be deadly.
Beran describes copperheads as docile, though he warns it can be deceiving.
“That can be mistaken for 'Oh it’s not gonna hurt me," and certainly young children have been known to pick them up. They don’t bite until later," said Beran.
He recommends keeping your distance and calling a professional if you see a snake.