CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – The Little Sugar Creek Greenway is a popular spot to get some exercise in Charlotte, but beneath the green that surrounds the pathway is a commonly feared creature.
Temperatures are warming up snakes are becoming more active.
“If we ran into any, I would probably jet right off,” said Paige Chiaretta, who is visiting Charlotte.
WJZY photographer Brian Christiansen pulled a 3-foot snake the greenway in Charlotte. It was one of many spotted on the paved path in the last couple of days.
Snake experts say they have seen a massive uptick in recovery calls, so we’re breaking down just what to do if you spot a snake while out on a stroll or even in your house.
“They just want to be left alone,” said Patrick Kamberos, co-owner of Cold Blooded and Bizarre exotic pet shop.
Kamberos’ shop is in Plaza Midwood. He says snakes are widely misunderstood.
“There is no animal in this store that wishes or intends to do any of us any harm,” he said.
The store doesn’t sell native species but gets several calls a week from people in the area, panicked about a snake on their property.
“My main purpose in life is to try to help people overcome that fear,” said Grover Barfield with Carolina Reptile Rescue.
Barfield is a snake educator and reptile rescuer. Recently, he’s been getting about three calls a day.
“I had one lady, she was in tears,” he said. “She was so afraid.”
Experts say there are about 25 different species of snakes in our region. Only one is venomous, but if you find one on your property and don’t know what it is, experts say to leave it alone.
“I’ve been studying them for 65 years and some of them still throw me,” Barfield said.
He says water, king, and rat snakes are all non-venomous and found in the Charlotte area. A copperhead encounter can send you to the hospital, but Barfield says bites are rare.
“They don’t chase people, they don’t attack people,” he said. “They can’t eat us, so they don’t want anything to do with us.”
If you do spot a snake on your property, Barfield says you can send it to the North Carolina Snake Identification and Education Facebook group for a synopsis but just in case, stay at least three feet away.