Best places to find snakes in central South Carolina?

I’ve been getting into herping recently, and have especially enjoyed finding snakes. So far I’ve found 2 ring necks, an Eastern Wormsnake, Ratsnake, and a Nothern Watersnake. The most snakes I’ve found were beside a waterfall in North Carolina (DuPont, found a ringneck and watersnake. Everyone thought the watersnake was a copperhead but was 100% nonvenomous). I haven’t tried to handle any snakes, and don’t plan to for a while, but I just enjoy finding and seeing snakes. I typically flip things like rocks, logs, human debris, and other things snakes might be hiding under.

I’m hoping to find some places that have a higher snake population, so maybe somewhere with a nice water source with rocks? My usual area (nearby park with a creek) I’ve found several salamanders which was cool but only one snake(Eastern Wormsnake) and there aren’t a lot of good things to look under. Mostly rotting logs and a few small rocks. I’ve looked around the Palmetto Trails (found a huge Rat Snake in a stump, pretty cool, but that was further north from where I am so we can’t go there often, plus we can’t go very far off trail. The section closer to us was interesting but couldn’t even find any salamanders, though I did find a mouse under some scrap metal), as well as the Harbison State Forest (didn’t do or find much, it’s unlawful to remove or damage forest products so we didn’t want to risk flipping a lot of stuff, but we did find a scorpion so that was super cool). I’ve seen a lot of people just flipping rocks and finding all kinds of snakes, multiple snakes in one trip, and I’m lucky if I find one. I would love to hear some advice on where to look!

I’m fine with areas a little further away, but obviously we wouldn’t be able to go to places like Charleston or Spartanburg very often.

Sorry that was so long, but thank you in advance!

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Most herpers jealously guard their spots. It is almost impossible to get information like this by posting to an online forum. I’d suggest trying to find potential spots by looking for a density of common snake species observations that are not obscured. That can sometimes indicate a “snakey” area where you might find a variety of things. Good luck.

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Thank you! I will definitely look into that!

Please herp responsibly! Return cover items to their exact position (as much as possible).

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Deleted the Post along with explanations. There is no point to keep it here.

Based on some other threads, these questions seem entirely reasonable. Consider some things that have been said in other threads:

An entire thread asking Poll: is handling herps for iNat ethical?

The reality is that herping is a fraught issue because, unlike birds and mammals, many herps are easily captured. How many of us as kids used to take home turtles for “pets,” not knowing any better, because they were easy to catch and seemed cool to have?

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jasonhernandez74

My sincere regards to you for all your deep knowledge, which I have observed from your posts in this Forum. :pray:

We do! (And I’m not sure what happened with the other comments but don’t worry, if we find a snake we just look at it and don’t touch it or mess with it as much at all. We are taking a snake safety class soon to learn how to safely and ethically handle snakes if we need to as well).

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I am a little confused by all the editing and questions, but I’ll try my best to answer.

I am young, and a beginner. That is why I am trying my best to learn how to herp safely and ethically, which is definitely possible. I always return what I flip to their original position and do not disturb any wildlife I find. Unfortunately I have been unable to find any snake enthusiasts nearby until very recently. He is an adult who has 30 snakes (including venomous ones), has several decades of experience with snakes, runs a free snake relocation service, and I think he is also associated with a local wildlife center that has a snake safety course I am going to take. This course teaches people how to safely and ethically handle and relocate snakes, and provides students with tools to do this successfully. I will not be relocating or handling wild snakes in the foreseeable future, but I am sure that at some point I will need to use what I learn.

I am very careful to avoid dangers when herping (hornets, dangerous spiders, poisonous plants, venomous snakes, pits, rivers, etc.).

I don’t provide exact locations when discussing the animals I find and when asking for them I tell people not to do that either (I might have forgotten that on this post, and I apologize for that and will edit it). I just want to learn more about my local wildlife and do not wish to harm it. If I do, please point out exactly what I did wrong in a respectful manner so I can fix it. I am still learning and unfortunately the proper knowledge is difficult to find, so I am trying my best with what I have. The information I find is unfortunately just as accessible to poachers, and for now I don’t know how to prevent that so if you have advice I would appreciate it.

As for going to zoos and stuff, I want to learn more about snakes in nature, not in captivity. They are two very different environments and so they can produce very different results. When you go herping, you can find many different individuals with their own appearance, behavior, and temperament. When you go to a zoo, it is the same individual. There are so many more opportunities to learn and have fun when you go outside, not when the animal is in a glass box. I don’t even know of anywhere nearby where I can do that.

After I find a snake, I just watch it until it leaves. That’s what I’ve done with every snake I have found so far. That alone is rewarding to me. I don’t need to do anything special, just observe. It’s both enjoyable and I can learn from it.

I am well aware that what I am doing can be dangerous, so I am doing my very best to learn how to be safest and I act on it. However you are unclear when you say that what I am doing is fatal to everyone involved. Can you please clarify (in a respectful manner) exactly how this is fatal? I am well aware that there are many dangers when herping, but they all can be associated with “normal” things, like hiking, or going outside at all. Of course these risks are elevated when I intentionally look for snakes, many of which are venomous, but I know to flip things toward myself so the snake does not come towards me, and as I said earlier, I am learning how to be safe around snakes (which includes venomous snakes).

If you know people I can go herping with who are in central South Carolina and are clearly willing to go looking for snakes with a random teen girl and her dad, please let me know because I will gladly learn from them. I just don’t know anybody like that (except that one person who contacted me and my dad only days ago). If you have advice on how I can stay safe while still looking for snakes in the outdoors, please tell me so I can learn. And If you have any advice on how I can ethically do so, please tell me. I know that there are ways to do it ethically — many people do so. I am doing my best to learn from them with the knowledge they provide, but I am unable to personally know them and so I am unable to gain their full knowledge.

All I am is a teen girl looking for snakes to watch and photograph with her dad. I will gladly appreciate advice, as long as it is not given with hostility. And I did not report or flag your comment, and do not plan to.

Edit: I don’t think I can edit my post. I wanted to remove the location of where I found the snakes and say not to provide locations like that. Is there any way I can change it or would I need to remove the post?

Do you have any advice on how I can prevent poachers from getting the snakes I find? I don’t want to help poachers but I still want to share my findings. If just posting a picture of the snake I find can result in poachers finding them though, I won’t do that.

I recommend beginning with threads where obscured locations are discussed, and go from there if you have further questions. Many participants in those threads know more about it than I do. Here are few relevant threads:
Threatened species obscured locations - General - iNaturalist Community Forum
Obscuring locations for sensitive areas - General - iNaturalist Community Forum
Location obscured for non-threatened species? - General - iNaturalist Community Forum
Obscured Observations locations and Comments - General - iNaturalist Community Forum
Pop up to warn users not to post location info on obscured records - Feature Requests - iNaturalist Community Forum

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Thank you!