If you’re out and about outdoors, you might be seeing more of our slithering reptilian friends than usual. If you haven’t seen a snake at this point in the Texas summer, then the likelihood is you’ve talked to a friend or a neighbor who has. As the temperatures soar, encounters with snakes statewide are expected to spike as well.
More Heat Equals More Snakes
Photo: @_Hurley_ via Twenty20
The rising heat in any parts of the state creates a perfect storm for an increase in snake activity. As the habitat for insects and rodents reaches prime conditions, snakes follow suit in search of prey.
Another reason for a spike in snake activity is due to the creatures’ cold-blooded nature. Since these reptiles can’t regulate their body temperature, they draw energy from the heat and are more active as a result.
Knowledge is Power
Treating snakes with respect, rather than fear, is one of the best methods of preventing a dangerous meeting, according to experts across the state. As with any wildlife, keeping your distance, and respecting habitat will reduce the likelihood of an unpleasant experience.
The fact of the matter is the snake you saw slithering beneath a woodpile in the corner of the yard is more scared of you than you are of it. Keeping your yard mowed, keeping your garage clean, and disposing of wood and brush piles quickly are a few practical things you can do to decrease the probability of running across a surprised slithering reptile.
Photo: @alleycatphotos via Twenty20
Experts also recommend being able to identify common snakes could also be crucial. Non-venomous snakes typically have rounded heads. Venomous snakes usually have diamond- or triangular-shaped heads. The good news in Texas is that most species in the state are non-venomous. Species such as the Hog-Nosed Snake and the Diamondback water snake will flatten their heads when threatened to present the illusion that they are poisonous.
There are only four types of poisonous snakes in Texas. They are the Copperhead, the Cottonmouth, the Coral snake, and the Rattlesnake. The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension has put together an excellent primer to aid with snake identification and common habitats. As the heat rises, keep your eyes peeled!