Rattlesnakes, of course, are familiar residents of the Okanagan. They are one of six species of snakes common to the Okanagan Valley.
Corn snakes are not one of the six.
But there was Vernon’s Pete Wise, owner/operator of Wise Wildlife Control Services, dealing with the alien snake found in the lobby of a Vernon apartment building on 32nd Avenue Wednesday morning.
“I got the call from the RCMP at 2 a.m., saying there was a snake in the lobby,” said Wise. “When I got there, the snake started to go on a tour of the hallway. The RCMP did an excellent job of keeping it constrained so it didn’t take off.”
It’s unclear as to how the blood-red corn snake, about five feet in length, got into the building.
Wise said it was quite skinny and took it to a couple he knows that rehabilitates snakes.
The corn snake call was one of seven in 24 hours Wise received about snakes. Most of the calls had to deal with rattlesnakes.
Wise saw his first rattlesnake of the season about five-to-six weeks ago in an area where he knew a rattlesnake den existed. But the early warm weather is also bringing snakes out to seek the heat.
“It’s hot in the daytime but the ambient air temperature drops quite dramatically in the early evening, so snakes are moving to sidewalks, pathways, driveways and gardens to get that last vestige of heat during the day, and that’s where they’re staying,” said Wise.
“That’s where they meet up with humans. Remember, we’ve moved into their world. They’ve always been here.”
What Wise likes to do, if it’s possible, is if people come across a snake, take a picture of it with your iPhone and send it to him.
“I’ll identify if the snake is venomous or non-venomous and then I’ll give some course of action to take,” he said. “If I can identify the species, I can give the person some instruction as to whether they should be more careful or put them a little more at ease.”
Wise will come trap the snake and relocate it if necessary. He said it is against the law in B.C. to kill any species of snake.
He gets calls on snakes from Osoyoos to Lytton.