Spring is here and so are the snakes. Taking advantage of increasing temperatures, our native Texas snakes are more active this time of year as they emerge out of hibernation in search of food and mates for breeding season. Snakes are more active when their prey is active, so spring and summer provide a buffet of frogs, rodents and other critters for snakes to eat. Chances are you may encounter a snake along a pathway, in your yard or at a local park. Good news is that all but three of the snakes commonly found in The Woodlands are nonvenomous.
Let’s get acquainted
Most snake species are shy and generally keep out of sight. They travel alone and prefer brush, rocks and woodpiles. Multiple snakes will share a den for winter hibernation, emerging in late February through early March. They are active during the day in spring and fall and at night during the summer to avoid the intense heat.
All snakes are strictly carnivorous. The type of prey varies by the species and may include mice, rats, frogs, birds, squirrels, rabbits, lizards, insects, eggs, snails, scorpions and smaller snakes. Aquatic species, like the Diamondback water snake, also eat fish, crustaceans and amphibians.
Snakes play an integral role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem by helping keep prey populations in check. For example, controlling the rodent population results in the reduction of common diseases like hantavirus, lymphocytic chorio-meningitis and salmonellosis.
Preventing Snake Bites
Most snakes in The Woodlands are harmless and an important part of the ecosystem, especially in controlling rodents. Snake bites are usually the result of them being surprised or cornered and are easily avoided with a few precautions. Because most snakes live on or near the ground, the majority of bites happen around the ankle. About 99% of all bites occur below the knee.
- Wear protective clothing; fangs are sharp but break easily and almost never penetrate leather shoes or boots. Long-sleeved shirts and pants will help further reduce your risk.
- Watch where you step, sit down and put your hands (never blindly into a hole).
- Avoid stepping over a log without first seeing what is on the other side. If you must move a log, use a long stick or garden tool first, to ensure snakes are not near.
- Use a flashlight when moving about at night.
AROUND THE HOME:
- Keep the grass short, shrubs trimmed, and flowerbeds free from debris.
- Limit wood and brush piles and keep them away from the residence.
- Keep storage sheds and garages as neat as possible.
- Treat overturned boats, plant pots, tarps and similar objects as potential shelter for snakes.
Snake Encounters and Recommended Responses
Removal – Who to contact
When removing wildlife from your private property, it is best to call a professional.
- Montgomery County: Woodlands Snake Removal, Nathan Wells: 346-218-0279
- Harris County: Texas Snakes & More, Clint Pustejovsky: 713-934-7668
Keep in mind that living in a densely forested area means that you may encounter snakes at local parks, ponds and along trails. Follow the recommended responses above during an encounter and avoid handling any wildlife. Snakes are a valuable asset to the health of our forest and we don’t want to remove them from their natural home.
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