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Spotting Snakes on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest: What You Need to Know

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With summer in full swing, visitors to the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest are more likely to encounter snakes basking in the sun. Norm Leonard, the Forest Environmental Coordinator, offers insights into the diverse snake population active during this season. Visitors might spot non-venomous rat snakes and water snakes, commonly seen along streams and wetlands. Leonard advises that while snakes play a crucial role in controlling pests, it’s essential to admire them from a safe distance and avoid interaction.

For those concerned about venomous species, Leonard highlights that common confusion often arises between venomous snakes like copperheads and their harmless look-alikes, such as the corn snake. He stresses the importance of recognizing patterns and habitats over physical features like head shape to safely identify snakes. Encountering a snake should prompt caution rather than confrontation, ensuring both human and snake remain unharmed.