RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — When it comes to copperhead snakes, Talena Chavis said she has helped humanely remove and relocate hundreds of them throughout the Triangle.

“They are my number one request for removal — we are going into copperhead season. August will be crazy, like eight calls a day,” Chavis said.

The wildlife control agent started her business, NC Snake Catcher, about seven years ago after noticing a need for the service.

“I put them in their own classification, they don’t act like other snakes,” Chavis said. “It’s those differences that people don’t anticipate that lead to more issues.”

Chavis said she has noticed calls coming in earlier as warmer temperatures bring copperheads out of hibernation each season. She also said one of their biggest predators in the area no longer continues to be a threat, which has helped stabilize the population and possibly even helped them thrive.

“The fact that we don’t have eastern kingsnakes in this area anymore has contributed to why we have so many copperheads,” she said. “You remove an apex predator and now you have a bunch.”

As the Triangle continues to grow, Chavis has received calls from all throughout the area. She has also traveled to Goldsboro on occasion.

She said copperheads are not aggressive, but they also are not shy. It’s not uncommon to see them sitting on trails or even on front porches when the sun goes down.

“I think the majority of the time they get stepped on because they’re not seen,” Chavis said.

The wildlife control agent said the population is also thriving as these snakes have learned to adapt.

“These are our only venomous snakes that are not declining in number. I attribute that to their adaptability. They have completely adapted to suburban living,” Chavis said.

She said these snakes feed on rodents and they are typically found around what they like to eat.

She said chipmunks and rats have been some of the main reasons copperheads have been spotted downtown. Additionally, she also said porch lights left on at homes can often attract bugs and rodents, which Chavis referred to as a ‘dinner bell.’

“Some of our snakes have learned to associate light with, ‘If I follow this, I will find food at the end’,” Chavis said.

Chavis recommends that people wear boots in the evening and find deterrents to keep copperheads away from their homes, especially if they are concerned about small children and pets.

She urged people not to kill the snakes but to reach out to people who can help safely remove and relocate them.

“The number one time where you are bit by a snake is when you are trying to catch or kill it,” Chavis said.

Furthermore, Dr. Charles Gerardo, an emergency medicine specialist at Duke University Hospital, said staff has treated at least five patients with copperhead bites, including one from Sunday night.

“Every year as the weather begins to warm up, both snakes and people become more active, so we’ve had a lot more encounters,” Gerardo said.

He also said the season for copperheads typically picks up between April and August and they can see anywhere from 30-65 bites in a year.

“We had an odd bite in January this year, which is unusual, but that can happen,” Gerardo said.

He also said a bite from a copperhead is seldom deadly, but people should still seek treatment.

The earlier you treat the bite, the better the outcome. The expert said if bitten, a person should remain calm, remove tight clothing or rings where there might be swelling and seek care. Avoid cutting the venom or trying to use a suction device to take the venom out. He said doing things like this, even putting ice on the area, can create more harm to the injury.