SOUTHEAST AMERICAN CORN SNAKE: Hiding on the fence, this docile snake looks similar to copperhead snakes, but lacks venom and lack of heat-sensing pits.

1. Prevent surprise encounters

Snakes tend to be most active at night and in warm weather. They are fond of hiding in hard-to-see environments. Avoid walking through tall grass, piles of leaves, rocks and brush, as well as climbing on rocks or piles of wood. If you or someone in your family has to tread through tall grass or weeds, be sure to poke at the ground in front of you with a long stick.

Always watch where you step and where you sit. When walking outside at night, shine a flashlight on your path to help send snakes on their way and give yourself time to react and change direction if necessary.

2. Wear protective clothing

Wear loose, long pants and high, thick leather or rubber boots when spending time in places that snakes may be hiding. Also, wear leather gloves and long sleeves when handling brush and debris or lifting and moving objects outside that have been stationary for long periods of time.

3. Never touch or handle a snake

Even if you think it may be dead or non-venomous, keep your family and pets at a safe distance. Recently killed snakes may still bite by reflex. There have even been cases of detached snakeheads being able to bite, reflexively. And remember: poisonous baby snakes are just as bad as adults.

4. Bring a buddy

If you’re planning to spend time in an area that may be home to venomous snakes, it’s best not to go alone in case you’re bitten or have another emergency. Touch base with family and children before heading outdoors to make sure everyone’s covered. If you must go alone, take a fully-charged cell phone and stay wherever your phone gets a signal.