(WGHP) — Officials with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are urging North Carolinians to report certain types of snakes as the weather warms up.

Wildlife diversity biologists with the NCWRC request that if you see a snake, do not be alarmed, do not kill it and give it plenty of room. If you see a pine snake or rattlesnake, officials ask you to report it. 

Questions about human-wildlife interactions can be directed to the agency’s NC Wildlife Helpline, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 866-318-2401 or by email at HWI@ncwildlife.org

“Snakes play crucial roles within ecosystems and help control the rodent, slug and insect populations,” said Jeff Hall, a reptile conservation biologist with the NCWRC. “There are many ways to coexist with snakes, which is important because of 38 of North Carolina’s native snake species, ten are listed endangered, threatened or of special concern.” 

Of the six native venomous snake species, three are rattlesnakes:

Each one is in decline and protected by the North Carolina Endangered Species Act.  

One example of a native threatened, nonvenomous snake species is the Northern pine snake. Agency biologists want to know more about the distribution of the pine snake and request the public report any sightings.

Snakes of North Carolina (credit: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission)
Snakes of North Carolina (credit: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission)

They prefer open areas within pine-oak forests with well-drained, sandy soil. They are mostly found in the sandhills and the southern coastal plain. There are confirmed reports of pine snakes in Cherokee and Swain Counties.  

“Public assistance in recording and documenting the pine snake will be a huge help because it’s difficult to conserve a species when we don’t know all the places it occurs,” said Mike Martin, wildlife technician with the NCWRC.

Sightings of these snakes in the wild can be reported on a mobile app or by email.

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The agency partners with the HerpMapper mobile app to track amphibian and reptile species. Download the app to your mobile device or tablet and enter information about your sighting.

If reporting by email send a photo (required), the date and time the snake was observed and the location (GPS coordinates preferred) to pinesnake@ncwildlife.org for Northern pine snakes and to rattlesnake@ncwildlife.org for rattlesnakes. 

Keep in mind that some species have similar patterns to Northern pine snakes, especially juvenile rat snakes and racers. For help with identifying snake species, click here.