Founder of Nacogdoches Venom Response Team educates NISD student - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Founder of Nacogdoches Venom Response Team educates NISD students on snakes

Captain Ray Cole, founder of the NFD Venom Response Team conducts educational talks about snakes. He wants people to respect them, not be afraid of them. (Source: KTRE Staff) Captain Ray Cole, founder of the NFD Venom Response Team conducts educational talks about snakes. He wants people to respect them, not be afraid of them. (Source: KTRE Staff)
A ball python is a common pet snake, but in the wild there are 44 species of snakes in Nacogdoches County. (Source: KTRE Staff) A ball python is a common pet snake, but in the wild there are 44 species of snakes in Nacogdoches County. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The Nacogdoches Venom Response Team answers 911 snake emergencies. So far this year there have been over 50 responses, more than all of last year. (Source: City of Nacogdoches) The Nacogdoches Venom Response Team answers 911 snake emergencies. So far this year there have been over 50 responses, more than all of last year. (Source: City of Nacogdoches)
The Nacogdoches Fire Department has a brochure on the five venomous snakes, do’s and don’ts of snake bites, prevention tips and statistics and myths about snakes. (Source: KTRE Staff) The Nacogdoches Fire Department has a brochure on the five venomous snakes, do’s and don’ts of snake bites, prevention tips and statistics and myths about snakes. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

The rain we're having today and in weeks past, combined with a mild winter have brought out the snakes.

In fact, they slithered out of their hiding spots earlier than usual this year.

In Nacogdoches, who do you call when they end up too close for comfort? You call the Venom Response Team, of course.

When Captain Ray Cole is seen with a pillow case you might want to step back. A group of Raguet Elementary students shrieked when they saw what Cole had with him Thursday.

The founder of the Venom Response Team is used to such reactions about his pet snakes.

"I hate snakes,” said one little girl.

A lot of Nacogdoches residents with the same opinion call 911 to get the snake in their yard relocated.

"The first year we caught probably around 21 snakes,” Cole said. “The second, third year it was about 50 something and we're already pushing that this year, still early in the season."

By the end of Cole's educational talks, you may not be quite as comfortable as Morgan Land was around them.

"He just gave me a kiss,” Land said.

 "Did he lick ya?" Cole asked.

However, you might come to understand them.

"A lot of people fear snakes, but actually this snake right here, his main meal is one of our venomous snakes, and that's a southern copper head,” Cole said.

It's the king snake's favorite supper. He can choose from 44 other snake species found in Nacogdoches County.

"Out of the 44 species, only five of them are venomous,” Cole said. “So just really learn the five."

If you come across a water moccasin, coral snake, timber rattlesnake, pigmy rattlesnake, or any other unfamiliar snake the best thing to do is walk away.

"Most people are bitten by snakes by one of two things, either trying to capture the snake or trying to kill the snake, so the best thing to do is leave the snake alone,” Cole said.

If impatience sets in, there’s something you can do to avoid the possibility of getting bitten.

"Take a water hose and spray it with water,” Cole said. “It beats trying to kill it and risk the chance of getting bitten."

Cole wants to teach people to respect snakes, not fear them. Seek medical help if bitten, but better yet practice prevention steps when outdoors.

"Actually snakes are more afraid of us, than we are of them,” Cole said.

The Nacogdoches Fire Department has a helpful brochure about snakes.

It can be picked up at the fire department or found online at the city website.

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