By Rachel Wulff

CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) – What was seen slithering in Citrus Heights is becoming a larger issue: Non-native species not necessarily harmful to humans but damaging to our ecosystem overall.

A four-foot Mexican king snake was recently caught on camera between homes in Citrus Heights. It looks a lot like a venomous coral snake, but experts at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center say don’t worry.

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“It is non-venomous and completely harmless – and is very common as a pet,” said Rachel Daniel, a naturalist at Effie Yeaw.

It’s more harmful to the environment when it escapes its cage or is released into the wild, experts say.

“They can cause a danger because of their gut colonies, their bacteria, things like that that can harm wild populations and then harm the individual snakes,” Daniel said.

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Rehoming non-native species, like a red-eared slider turtle that was also found recently, is becoming more of an issue.

Among the non-native species one local wildlife care specialist has taken in includes a snapping turtle, a silver fox spotted in Granite Bay, and a non-native bullfrog caught a couple nights ago in the middle of the road in Roseville.

For the time being, the Mexican king snake is under quarantine off-site

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“While it’s under quarantine, we’re evaluating to see if it’s going to stay on site as one of our animal educators or animal ambassadors,” Daniel said. “And if not, we will rehome the snake.”