On a hot Texas summer day, we humans love few
things more than a dip in the pool or a cool drink of
water. Guess what, we are not alone. When the
weather turns hot and dry, Texas snakes go on the
prowl for water, food and the company of others of
This year, with Texas in the midst of a record drought,
the ponds and streams snakes depend on are drying
up, sending some of the thirsty reptiles into our yards
in search of relief.
Texas is home to numerous varieties of snakes
including 15 venomous species or subspecies,
according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
(TPWD). That might seem like a lot, but keep in mind, each year more people are killed by lightning than by
venomous snake bite.
Many non-venomous snakes have characteristics that mimic their more-dangerous cousins. It may be difficult
to tell them apart. With that in mind, the best way to avoid running afoul of a snake’s business end is to stay
There are several things you can do to make your home less inviting to
snakes and to protect yourself from snakebite. Here are a few
suggestions from TPWD.
Keep wood and brush piles as far as possible from the residence.
Use caution when working in these areas. Never put an arm or leg
into something if you cannot see the bottom.
Keep your lawn trimmed and be aware about any outdoor trash,
food or water that might draw rodents or other small critters that
snakes like to eat.
Look before you move through your garden. Those regular
waterings might prove an enticing draw for snakes.
Keep storage areas and livestock sheds/barns as neat as possible. Treat tools and materials stored on
the floor as possible snake shelters.
Treat overturned boats, tarps and similar objects as potential shelter for snakes moving through the
Remember that snakes are adept at finding their way through small openings. Keep this in mind when
entering crawl spaces, garages, basements and similar areas.
- Be careful where you put your hands and feet. Don’t reach or step until you see the bottom.
Never step 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.
- Use a flashlight when moving about, even in your yard at night.
- Animal burrows make excellent habitat for snakes. Don’t reach in without checking first.
Wear protective clothing if you work in areas where you suspect snakes are nearby. Heavy footwear,
pants and/or leggings will help reduce your risk.
Freeze when snakes are known to be nearby until you know where they are. Allow the snake to retreat.
If you must move, back slowly and carefully away from the snake.
If you are bitten, stay calm and seek treatment immediately. Here are some suggestions for what to do
if you or someone you know is bitten.
To learn more about Texas snakes including descriptions of venomous varieties, please click here.