Warmer weather heralds arrival of slithering intruders-- here's what to do

21 May 2018 | Lance Cpl. Nicholas Lubchenko Marine Corps Installations East

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – A three-foot long Rat snake waited silently until being discovered at 5:45 a.m. on an office windowsill in building 67 on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Monday.

A base Conservation Law Enforcement Officer, Gary Wilcox, responded to the call for assistance and captured the snake.

“We have Cottonmouths, Diamondback Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, Coral snakes and Timber Rattlesnakes (on base),” said Wilcox. “Those are the ones you have to worry about.”

While Copperheads are responsible for the majority of snake bites on or near base, it’s the bites of young venomous snakes that are an extreme concern since they tend to be unable to control the amount of venom they inject into their victims or prey.

“Anytime someone is in the woods or if they are playing around swampy areas, there is always a possibility that they can get bitten,” said Wilcox. “You don’t want to get bit, regardless of if it is a friendly or venomous snake.”

The Rat snake found in building 67 Monday was not venomous, but it can move quickly and bite. According to Wilcox, it most likely slithered into the building through a crack under a door – others get into homes and offices through windows and garages. If they smell something tempting, they will look for a way in.

“The best thing to do (if you find a snake indoors) is to leave the snake alone and call PMO right away,” said Wilcox. “PMO will get ahold of dispatch, they will get ahold of us and we will respond to it.”

For office environments on base; those who encounter snakes can call the Conservation and Law Enforcement office at (910) 451-5226 or the Provost Marshal Office desk sergeant at 451-2557.

For snakes inside a base housing residence, call the maintenance line at (877) 509-2424. If it is outside, it is recommended to keep children and pets away, leave it alone and let it pass.

For all emergency snake encounters, call 911.