Gulf Islands National Seashore is home to many of the 50 different snake species that are native to Florida, and 55 species of snakes that are native to Mississippi. From the common black racer to the more elusive pygmy rattlesnake, each are vital to the ecosystem they inhabit. Snakes not only control rodent populations (which are transmitters of diseases), but they are valuable members of the food web because they are both predator and prey.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you do come across a snake:
- Keep a safe distance and keep children and pets away
- Leave the snake alone and never try to pick up or harass the snake
- Try identifying the snake
- When a snake is startled some snakes will try to make themselves look more intimidating as a warning, so if this occurs it is best to back away
- There is no reason to fear or kill a snake, being bit is very rare
- Know your venomous snakes, there are six in the state of Florida: copperhead, cottonmouth, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, pigmy rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake and the eastern coral snake. There are six venomous snakes in the state of Mississippi: canebrake rattlesnake, copperhead, coral snake, cottonmouth and pigmy rattlesnake.