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Uh Oh! Here Come the Snakes!

Major snake infestation expected in Texas this month

With the region already suffering through the Biblical plagues of drought and heat, you could have seen this one coming.

Here come the snakes.

Snake experts tell 1200 WOAI news that late August and September will see an explosion of snakes in back yards, as the critters start slithering out looking for something to eat.

“They’re very hungry right now,” central Texas snake expert Jerry Cates tells 1200 WOAI news, in a statement which is creepy on it’s surface. “The hungrier they get, the more they start ranging the fields looking for food.”

He says that’s why we can expect snakes to show up in places where they are seldom seen.

So what happens if you come into contact with a snake in your back yards? Cates says the first thing you should do, interestingly enough, is to stare into its eyes.

“If it’s a large snake, and it has round eyes with big black pupils, it is almost certainly NOT a venomous snake,” he says.

Okay, you’ve gazed into the snakes eyes, and it doesn’t have big black pupils. What happens now?

He says the four most common types of poisonous snakes in Texas are the common rattlesnake, the Texas coral snake, the copperhead, and the cottonmouth (likes to hang around water….like Onion Creek).

The rattlesnake has the distinctive rattle at the end of the snake, but Cates cautions that the snake actually seldom rattles the rattle, so if you don’t hear the tell-take sound, don’t think it’s not a dangerous rattlesnake.

If it is a colorful, banded coral snake, Cates says the Boy Scout nursery rhyme really does tell you whether the snake is dangerous or not.

“Red touch yellow, kill a fellow. Red touch black, venom lack. That is probably the best way to remember that.”

He says snakes will almost always retreat when confronted by humans, and he says many people are startled by how fast snakes can travel.

If the worst happens, and the snake does bite, Cates says get to the doctor as quickly as possible. He says snake bites are actually less painful than a sting from a scorpion or a wasp, and he says the victim may not experience the effects of the venom right away, but, as anybody who has seen movies ranging from ‘Lonesome Dove’ to ‘True Grit’ can attest, snake bites are nothing to mess with.

He says the venom will begin kicking in in a few hours, and frequently leads to paralysis, respiratory failure, and can be fatal. and he says a snake bite will drain your wallet as well.

“If you are bitten by a venomous snake, you and your insurance provider together are going to spend between $50,000 and $150,000 in medical bills,” he said.

Cates says as we approach mid August and get into September, we should be aware of the fact that snakes are likely to pop up in all sorts of places. He says you should put the flip-flops aside, and wear leather shoes or boots whenever you are walking in or around tall grass brush, or while you are doing gardening work or lawn mowing.

He warns that even if rains do come to the region, the snake infestation is inevitable. He says the snakes are ranging looking for their favorite prey, which is rodents, and a couple of rains won’t suddenly produce a crop of rodents for the snakes to eat.

Jim Forsyth