If you were to act as a predator — in a threatening way — to ANY wild animal, there is a very good chance that the animal would react in a similarly aggressive way. If you were to have an animal cornered, for example, it would lash out, not necessarily to “kill” you or overpower you, but perhaps to get you out of the way so that they can then break free.
This is often the case with snakes, and a vast array of other wild animals. In reality, the animal is simply lunging in whatever direction it feels is the safest, and if that means right in your direction (in a bid to move you, for example), then so be it. If you were to be on the receiving end of that behavior, however, it would most certainly seem as if the snake (or other wild creature) were chasing you, or definitely heading in your direction.
The majority of snakes, particularly species commonly found within the United States, are small, relatively unassuming, and non-venomous. Some are rather docile species, doing everything in their power to avoid conflicts with other animals, particularly those that are bigger than they are. There are a few species that are known to be quite aggressive and will, therefore, be more likely to act in an aggressive way towards you (or any other animal coming towards it or in the vicinity), but those snake species aren't often found close to human habitats. There are only fifty different snake species found across the United States (although these are made up of several subspecies), and only a very small percentage of those are venomous. There are four different species of them — the Coral Snake, The Cottonmouth Moccasin, the Rattlesnake, and the Copperhead.
Even the most venomous and aggressive of snake species will not attack unless they are provoked, especially humans. Smaller animals — rabbits, raccoons, opossums, rats, mice, birds, etc. — are the perfect size prey for a great number of them, and some of them aren't even big enough to handle some of that size. You would need a rather large snake to take on and down a full-grown human. These reptiles aren't stupid. They won't stay and fight if they know they don't stand a very high chance of winning. If the “other guy” is considerably larger (which is usually the case with humans versus snakes), there's a good chance you won’t win. (Ignore David and Goliath for just one moment.) The snake will never try to take down an animal that it knows it doesn't have a chance of winning against.
Snakes WILL chase and attack if they are cornered, threatened, or provoked. In some cases, this could be a simple misunderstanding, such a dog sniffing out a snake in the deep undergrowth while you’re out walking, or perhaps even standing on a snake in the long grass of your own back garden after a few hours of heavy rain.
Snakes will usually NOT chase and attack if they are left alone. If you spot a snake, don't get closer to it in a bid to take a selfie. Most people couldn’t determine a snake species just by looking at it, and even Google will only help so far. We don't ever recommend that you get close to the snake, try to capture it, or deal with the situation yourself, unless you have plenty of experience and knowledge. If the snake is in your property, call in the professionals. You can let the local city or county services know if you have seen a snake in a public place. It is their responsibility to move it and ensure the public safety of those around the reptile. IT is NOT your responsibility.
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