Snakes in My Yard?

Snakes in My Yard?


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This is to make you aware of your surrounding areas in your yard.  Late one night in April my wife discovered that one of our Labrador’s had been bitten in the mouth by a snake.  We noticed her face was swelling up and knew something was wrong.  After taking a closer look, there were two puncture wounds near her mouth.  As many has experienced, these incidents don’t happen during our vets normal business hours so we took her to a local emergincy clinic.   It was confirmend, a copperhead snake bit her.  After giving her the snake venom and a nights stay at the hospital, she was happy to see us.  She’s much better now but still has the marks near her mouth.

Could this happen to you?  Roughly half of all venomous snake bites do not inject a venom. The good news is only .2% of those bitten by venomous snakes die from the bite.  In the case of our Labrador, the swelling was closing her airway and she would not have survived if we didn’t take immediate action.

Today, Texas has a high number of snake species with approximately 115 types of snakes.  Only 15% of those are venomous snakes and can be grouped into four categories coral snakes, copperheads, cottonmouths (aka water moccasins), and rattlesnakes.

Ok your wondering, should I kill every snake I see?  No, snakes are a very important part of the ecosystem as they prey on insects and rodents and some species even prey on other snakes.  They are not the enemy, they must eat to survive.  So be aware of their existence and take necessary precautions when confronted by a snake.

The best defense against any venomous snake is to avoid them.  A snakes behavior changes as with the seasons so during cooler months, they might crawl out from their nest to sun themselves.  During the spring rains often they searchfor dry areas to rest.  This could even be in flower bed, on the patio, or in your garage.  As the temperatures get cooler they seek out warm places to hide. Beaware of those stocked wood piles for the fireplace, shrubs, rock piles, under sheds, or where you least expect to find them.

It is always good practice when working in your yard to use a rake or shovel handle to inspect around the bushes before reaching in and pulling weeds.  When moving wood try using a wood tong or a shovel to roll the wood prior to attempting to pick it up.  Remember, look before you reach to be aware of the surrounding area.

If you are not trained in dealing with snakes, don’t handle them.  The same as any wild animal, if you cut off their escape route, there is a chance you will be bit as it trys to escape.  Don’t attempt to kill the snake yourself, call a rodent removal company, certified exterminator, or your city offices for assistance.  Keep in mind, snakes are wild animals and should not be kept as a pet.  These creatures belong outdoors to survive.

Enjoy your home!

Michael Higdon

 

 

 

Sources:

http://dshs.texas.gov/idcu/health/zoonosis/animal/bites/information/venom/snake/

http://tpwd.texas.gov/education/resources/texas-junior-naturalists/snakes-alive/snakes-alive#texas-is-always-bragging

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/snakeproof-yard-51918.html

 

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