CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A photo taken by Charlotte woman is going viral online after she stumbled on a snake mating ball while walking along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway Monday.
The photo, taken by Jessica Jackson, has since been picked up by media outlets in Charlotte and across the nation. It appears to be a mating ball of watersnakes along the greenway.
Several people on the greenway Monday night said they had previously encountered snakes in the same area.
Jogger Bryan Neil said he actually came across one Monday morning too.
"Right under the tunnel is a black snake.probably about three or four feet long that scared the crap out of me," said Neil.
Others said they had never noticed a snake on any of the paths.
"I just worry about a couple geese up there. They get a little rabid sometimes, but no snakes," said runner John Freeze.
There are 37 species of snakes that are native to North Carolina, only six of them are venomous.
Based on the photos, these snakes appear to be a mix of Brown Watersnakes and Northern Watersnakes - but they are both non-venomous.
According to an expert from the Greensboro Science Center, if you don't need to go where the snake is at that moment, then just kind of step back and walk away.
MOBILE USERS: Click here for a visual guide to NC's native snakes
"If you're concerned because you have children, or a pet, and you need to relocate the snake, there are a couple of things you can do," he said. "For example, with a big black snake you can use a garden rake, and slowly get underneath it to gather it up, and set it in a tall trash can."
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"If you keep your yard and flower beds taken care of that's a good thing. They don't like to be out in the open much because of they're exposed to predators," he continued. "So keep woodpiles a little bit further away from the house. Try to keep the yard mowed and take care of weeds to give them less hiding places. It will also help keep some of their food sources away like rats and mice."
David Crowe of Critter Control told WBTV that the northern water snake is the type of snake he sees the most in North Carolina. Crowe said that anyone who gets bit by a snake that could be venomous needs to go to the hospital immediately.