URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – Spring is here, which means sunshine, flowers and possibly snakes in your backyard.

Many snakes are coming out of hibernation and people’s first reaction is to get rid of them. But Reptile expert Katy Duff said snakes are an essential part of the environment.

Garter, ribbon, and water snakes are good for pest control. They hunt rodents like moles, mice, and rats. Duff said those who fear seeing one in their backyard have nothing to worry about.

“The vast majority of snakes you’re going to come across, garter snakes, ribbon snakes, rat snakes, are completely harmless to humans and pets,” Duff said. “Even if you were to get bit by one, which is very rare because they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. But even if you were to get bit by one you just have to run your hand under water and you’d be fine.”

Duff also if you prefer to not see snakes you should pick up leaves and pieces of wood lying around in your yard because that’s where they like to make their home.