Dry, hot conditions have East Texas snakes slithering towards shade

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Armando Leal owns a landscaping company. Leal works in places where snakes slither. In this scorching heat, snakes are looking for shady spots.

"I was crawling behind the flower bed and that snake was actually right there and from that point on I just backed off," said Armando Leal, owner of Leal Landscaping and Sprinklers.

Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Sean Willis said Leal did the right thing. "The best thing to do is just leave them alone," said Willis.

Snake handler James Childress agreed. "If you're outside raking your grass and you see one they're not just going to come after you," said Childress. "If you walk off, they're not going to chase you down."

"The most common snakes you'll encounter are not venomous, but some of them will be," said Willis.

Willis said there are four different types of venomous snakes in East Texas: Southern Copperhead, Cottonmouth or water moccasin, Coral and Timber Rattlesnake. Willis said an easy way to distinguish Coral snakes is the old saying, "red and yellow, kill a fellow; red and black, friend to Jack. "

To catch a break from this sweltering sun, snakes are laying low in cooler spots like piles of brush. "Keep the trash and leaf litter, and things like that cleaned up around your yard and you'll greatly reduce the number of snakes that you have," said Willis.

While you can reduce your chances of a snake encounter, Leal said spotting snakes is a part of his weekly routine during the East Texas summers.

"We live in the woods pretty much, I mean you're going to find them regardless of whether you live in the woods or whether you got some kind of grass and garden or anything like that, they're going to be there," said Leal.

Be cautious, snakes are very active during this time of the year. Each year, nearly 8,000 people receive poisonous snake bites in the United States. Even a bite from a so-called "harmless" snake can cause infection or allergic reaction in some people. Click here for snake bite prevention and treatment.

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