What are the 4 venomous snakes found in Texas?
10 things children should do if they spot a snake
Already in the month of May, two children have been cared for at Cook Children's after getting bit by a snake. As summer approaches, more kids will be outside and parents should take the opportunity to teach their kids about snakes and what precautions can be taken to avoid a bite from one of our potent, reptilian friends.
Four species of venomous snakes found in Texas: rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads, and coral snakes.
Rattlesnakes are most populous in dry areas with prevalent rocks and canyons. When threatened, rattlesnakes will curl into a defensive position and rapidly shake their rattles. Rattlesnakes can be recognized by the “rattle” apparatus at the end of the tail. This species of snake has scales in a distinct diamond pattern, as well as a large head and fangs. Depending on the location, rattlesnakes can vary in color from brick red, buff pink, straw-yellow, beige, brownish and light gray:
Cottonmouth snakes (seen on the right), also known as water moccasins, are found where prey is plentiful. These snakes require large basking sites and will travel far from water to hibernate. Cottonmouths spend the majority of their time coiled at the edge of bodies of water or draped over nearby vegetation:
Copperhead snakes are common in wooded areas from the hardwood bottomlands in east Texas, to woody patches in the Trans Pecos of west Texas. Additionally, copperheads can be found in open areas within short proximity of woods. During the summer, copperheads are most active at night:
Coral snakes are extremely common across the state, from the pine forests in the East to the oak juniper canyons on the Pecos River. These snakes thrive in urban, suburban, and other habitats with plentiful rock crevices or plant cover:
Mark Shelton, M.D., an Infectious Disease doctor at Cook Children’s and an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America, says it’s important to teach respect for snakes.
If you ignore a snake, more than likely, the snake will avoid you,” Dr. Shelton said. “But kids being kids, that’s sometimes easier said than done. Talk to your children about staying away from the snake. Don’t try to pick it up or kill it. Teach your child not to touch it or walk near it. Children should stand still when they spot a snake, then turn around slowly and walk away. Usually, the snake will crawl away into the bushes.”
Don’t be alarmed by the prevalence of these creepy crawlies within our great state, they love the sun and warmth just like us! Here are 10 tips to stay safe from snakes this summer:
- Be especially careful of snakes after the rain. They will be seeking dry area and may be on a sidewalk or walking path they normally wouldn’t cross.
- Don’t canoe or boat under limbs on rivers, streams and lakes.
- Ignore the snake and they will ignore you.
- Don’t touch or pick up a snake.
- Don’t try to kill a snake.
- Wear closed-toe shoes when in wooded areas.
- Don’t put fingers under rocks and don’t crawl under houses or other structures.
- Avoid the edges of lakes, streams, and rivers where vegetation is high.
- Instruct your children to notify you if they see any species of snakes or other threatening animals.
- If bitten by a snake, seek medical help immediately. Don’t open the wound or suck out the venom. Seek medical help.