Despite snake invasion, students safe at Aiken Co. school

News 12 First at Five / Friday, Aug. 23, 2013

WAGENER, S.C. (WRDW) -- "I don't catch snakes. I'm deathly afraid of them," says Wagener-Salley High School Assistant Principal James Arnold.

But on this first week of school, he's seen quite a few.

"Most of them have probably been about 6 inches or less," he says. "All of them about the thickness of a pencil."

Almost 10 have been spotted on school grounds, and some of them were found in the building.

"I think all of the sudden movement from students now being on campus is probably scaring them out of their hiding places that they had during the summer, so give it another two or three days and you probably won't see any on campus," says Arnold.

On Friday, two were found and killed outside the building. Rumor on Facebook says it's is a rash of Timber Rattlesnakes, but the snakes caught Friday morning are no rattlesnakes. They were harmless baby Banded Water Snakes.

"All of them have been Banded Water Snakes, and there's no need for concern. We've already alerted Aiken Pest Control," says Asst. Principal Arnold.

Wagener Mayor Mike Miller is also lending a hand in catching them. On Thursday, just down the street, another snake terrorized the Wagener Medical Center.

"As they described it, it was probably a Black Rat Snake, and it was a climber, it was up on the rails, so poisonous snakes generally don't climb," says Mayor Miller.

But venomous snakes generally have an arrow-shaped head and cat eyes. Two things the snakes caught at Wagener-Salley didn't have.

However, the best advice may be the simplest of all.

"If you don't know what it is, don't touch it. Leave it alone. It'll go away. You don't have to kill it," says the mayor.

"We just urge all students if they do see any snake or any wildlife outside, stay away from it and notify us in the office," adds Arnold.

This week, another snake was caught at Silver Bluff High School. The principal says it was just a small, harmless Grass Snake.

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