Did you know that some of the approximately 40 different species of non-venomous snakes in South Carolina can be found lurking in the woods around your home, crawling across your driveway, or slithering around your yard?  Please remember if you see ANY snake, it is best to just leave it alone. Harassing it, or poking a snake with a stick, will only cause it to strike because it will probably consider you to be a threat. As pest control professionals, we sometimes run into snakes in your yard, crawlspace, or even your attic. Here is some information on a few of the most common non-venomous snakes we sometimes encounter.

Rat Snake:

The rat snake can grow to be very large. We have seen these snakes reach lengths of over six feet! The rat snake along coastal areas is usually grey or dark green with yellow stripes down its body. Some rat snakes are black and can be mistaken for the venomous cottonmouth snake. Rat snakes will feed on mice, rats, birds and their eggs, frogs, lizards, and rabbits.

Corn Snake:

The corn snake is often mistaken for the copperhead. This snake can grow to three to four feet. It’s a very colorful snake with orange, black, white, brown, red, and gray markings. The pattern on the corn snake is usually random or blotchy. The snake’s belly, or underside, looks like Indian corn. The corn snake feeds on frogs, small mammals, and lizards.

Eastern Garter Snake:


The garter snake has yellow stripes down its dark gray or green body. Sometimes this snake has a checkered green and gray pattern with yellow stripes down its body. It can grow to about two feet and has a very slender body. Active all year long, the garter snake feeds on fish, worms, insects, and frogs. A garter snake gives birth to live babies and sometimes has as many as 60 babies at a time!

Black Racer

The black racer will only be active during the heat of the day. At night, it can be found resting under a rock or log. It can grow to be over six feet. The black racer wants nothing to do with humans. It will quickly race away to hide under the nearest pile of pine straw, behind a shrub, or it may even climb a tree. This snake eats insects, lizards, other snakes, birds, rats, mice and frogs. The black racer is also the favorite food of some predatory birds, raccoons, and other snakes like king snakes and larger racers.

If you have ANY kind of unwanted reptiles in your yard, crush up some moth balls and sprinkle the material in areas where you don’t want them. East Cooper Termite and Pest Solutions can provide helpful advice on snake identification and wildlife management around your home.