Officials issue warning about rattlesnakes at popular beach destination

CAPE HATTERAS, North Carolina — The National Park Service has issued a warning about rattlesnakes for anyone heading to the Outer Banks this summer.

In a post on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Facebook page, the park service said most snake encounters occur between the months of April and October when snakes and humans are most likely to be outdoors.

“Generally not aggressive, rattlesnakes strike when threatened or deliberately provoked, but given room they will retreat,” the post said.

The post included several pictures of a rattlesnake that was seen outside a park staff building near the Bodie Island Light Station.

The park service included the following tips to avoid interactions with snakes:

  • When hiking, stick to well used trails
  • Avoid tall grass, weeds, and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day
  • Look at your feet to watch where you step and do not put your foot in or near a crevice where you cannot see
  • Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark
  • If a fallen tree or large rock is in your path, step up to it instead of over it, as there might be a snake on the other side
  • Avoid approaching any snake you cannot positively identify as a safe species
  • If you hear a warning rattle, move away from the area and do not make any sudden or threatening movements in the direction of the snake

Last summer, a couple posted pictures and video of a rattlesnake that washed ashore on a beach in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Will Dillman, a herpetologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources told the Island Packet that such sightings are rare on the beach.

“Usually you aren’t going to see them right on the beach like that, but they do occur,” Dillman said. “It’s very possible this snake was doing some normal swimming and got caught in a harsh tide and ended up where it didn’t intend to be.”