Byram herpetologist explains how to coexist with snakes in your neighborhood


RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) — Snakes and humans have a long history together, most of which involves an unpleasant connotation toward snakes due to old wives tales–which often leads to snakes being killed, despite the vast majority of them not being venomous.

A Herpetologist in Byram named Terry Vandeventer said that there’s no effective snake repellent products, but there are many easy things you can do around your house to keep them away without hurting them… or getting hurt.

“Do away with trash heaps,” Vandeventer said. “Old buildings piles of lumber, piles of tin roofing, things like that. Those are all snake magnets, because those things attract rats and mice, which then attracts snakes. So if you do away with food and shelter, then you won’t have snakes around.”

Vandeventer said there’s only one time a snake will bother you, that’s if you bother a snake.

“70 to 80 or 85% of all snake bites in America happen during a direct intentional interaction with a snake, usually tried to kill the snake,” Vandeventer explained. “Alcohol figures into about 50% of all snake bites in America.

Nathan Kyzar lives in Brandon in a snake-prone neighborhood. He said that despite having been bit several years ago, he still has a lot of love for these creatures. He even plays with them from time to time.

“A copperhead layin’ on the ground — you can walk up to him,” Kyzar said. “I wouldn’t suggest it, but you can play with him. You can put him in your hands. As long as your gentle and don’t show any fear you can play with him. Cottonmouth– totally different story.”

Kyzar said that that he’s been doing it for year, and that he does not recommend this sort of thing to just anyone.

“Be safe and no I don’t recommend playing with snakes,” Kyzar added.

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