TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – If you’re heading to the beach, the Tybee Island Police Department urges you to keep an eye out for animals slithering in your surroundings.
Police say it’s no surprise that beachgoers share the island with wildlife, but lately, officers have seen an increase in calls involving rattlesnakes.
The department shared a video of one on their Facebook page Tuesday, making its way through some beachgrass. Wildlife experts say the snake is a diamondback rattlesnake, which is the largest venomous snake in North America. It can grow up to 8 feet long.
“Luckily, this guy was able to be safely relocated with no harm to humans or the animal,” Tybee Island PD (TIPD) posted, adding that rattlesnakes often nest in the dunes but typically stay away from any residents or visitors.
Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen says snake sightings typically happen 2-3 times per year. In the past week, TIPD says there have been at least two.
“It may be unusual to see a snake on Tybee Island, but it’s certainly not unheard of,” said Georgia Department of Natural Resources Senior Wildlife Biologist Daniel Sollenberger. “And you’re kinda lucky if you get to see it. They’re not a common animal.”
Sollenberger says snakes enjoy Georgia’s coastal dunes because they are an excellent habitat for them. There is endless sun, vegetation to hide under and ample rodents to eat.
“Certain snakes, especially rattlesnakes, eat a lot of rodents,” said Sollenberger. “The rodents are the reservoir for diseases. So if snakes are eating a lot of rodents, they’re are eating a lot of ticks.”
If you keep your distance and do not try to interact with the snake, there will not be any problems.
If you feel threatened by an animal, or believe one is in danger, the department is available at 912-786-5600.
“Our team will he happy to investigate,” the department’s Facebook post reads.