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Rats, Snakes Waking Up In Early Spring Weather

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DURHAM, N.C. — The mild winter may be driving an increase in rodent and snake encounters in the Triangle, as it seems to be waking up the creepy crawlies earlier than usual.

At the critter control office in Durham, the snakes are waking up early this year. Bob Jankowski usually doesn't start responding to snake and rodent calls until April, but so far this month, he's already had six incidents. He blames the unseasonably warm weather.

"When the temperatures go up, their metabolism goes up and they end up in people's front yards or homes, because the increased temps increases their body temps and they become more active," said Jankowski.

The bigger picture is a shrinking habitat. As more and more housing developments sprout up, snakes have fewer places to hide. In fact, you may already have a snake in your home and it would be hard to know.

"Snakes like to get up in the ledges and crawl spaces between the concrete and the wood structure of the home," said Jankowski. "That's where people will find them curled up in there."

But there's no need to worry. Jankowski said most snakes are not aggressive and just want to be left alone. They're also a natural fix for rats and mice, which are also making an untimely debut this year.

"Destroying these animals isn't doing anybody any favors," said Jankowski. "Unfortunately, we pass this on to our children. What people should do is read about snakes, understand them and teach children to respect nature."

Pest control experts say that where there are mice, snakes usually aren't far behind. So if you have a birdhouse, an ivy hedge, or just tall grass, you could be attracting snakes.


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