Conn. (WTNH) — Summer is here, which means snakes are slithering around the state now more than ever. While snakes can be scary, DEEP said they post no threat to the public — as long as you keep your distance.

Snakes are an important part of our world, as they offer roles as both predators and prey. While they consume smaller animals, they also serve as food for bigger mammals and birds of prey.

Rather than killing a snake upon first encounter, DEEP said it’s important to allow them to go on their way. Most snake species are shy and non-aggressive, and the two venomous snakes found in Connecticut are not widely distributed. Even then, the venomous snakes are only dangerous if handled or threatened.

“Snakes are often needlessly killed by people because of mistaken identity, fear, and misunderstanding,” DEEP Wildlife Division Director Jenny Dickson said in a statement. “If you unexpectedly come across a snake, the snake is likely as startled as you are. The best course of action is to remain calm. All snakes will retreat from humans if given a chance.”

So, what’s the best course of action if you find yourself in front of a snake? DEEP said non-venomous snakes like gartersnakes are found in yards and around outbuildings, and while they can bite when handled, a pair of garden gloves will suffice. That way, if you are bit by the snake, it won’t break the skin.

Since snakes have delicate bodies, they should be handled gently – and not squeezed too tightly – before being placed outside. DEEP said it’s also important to place the snake not too far from their place of capture so they’re in a familiar area.

In the rare occasion that a venomous snake should make their way onto your property, DEEP said it’s best to just leave them alone.

In an effort to avoid snakes at all costs, DEEP recommends to cut grass short, remove brush and rock pils, and trim shrubs up off the ground.

Find a snake identification guide here. Anyone who needs assistance identifying a snake should reach out to DEEP at deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov.