Watch Your Step! It’s Snake Time

The peak active snake season is upon us at the lake. The temperatures have warmed up
early this year and local snakes are on the move including the Western diamondback
rattlesnake emerging from their dens to find food and mates. Snakes are most active around
the lake community early morning, evening, and at night-time, but remember they did not read
the manual so you may see one at other times. I have received several calls about rattlesnakes
being found below and around lake homes and in yards already.
Some tips to avoid snake activity:

Be aware where you step and place your hands.
Keep your yard mowed and vegetation trimmed away from buildings.
Remove firewood, brush, rock and debris piles from around structures.
Seal openings and cracks to prevent entry into buildings.
Most snakes including rattlesnakes are looking for their favorite foods – rats and mice.
Place rat/mouse bait blocks in mounted protective bait boxes around your home.
Always wear shoes (not sandals) when outside and be careful when stepping over logs
and rocks.

Snake repellents such as moth balls, aromatic oils, and chemicals like Sulphur have been
shown to be ineffective. Ultrasonic devices don’t repel snakes as they hear by vibrations rather
than actual noises.

If you see a snake, leave it alone. If you find a snake inside your home get everyone out
of the room immediately including pets and shut the door and fill any gaps with a towel. This is
the time to call a professional to remove it.

There are many kinds of snakes at the lake, but only four venomous snakes are found
here. I have caught a Texas Coral snake on the road below Hell’s Gate after a rain storm. The
Broad-banded copperhead is common as well as the Western diamondback rattlesnake. The
Western cottonmouth (water moccasin) can be found in many habitats near water, but I have
never observed one in the deep cool waters of Possum Kingdom Lake. Most sightings on the
lake have been identified as the Diamond – backed water snake and other water snakes
common to the area. There are many free guides to venomous snakes in Texas from the Texas
Parks & Wildlife Department website and print publications. A waterproof fold out color guide
to the Snakes of North Texas can be purchased at bookstores and other businesses.

Many people have been conditioned to fear and hate snakes. I find it best to respect
them from a distance realizing that without them we would be overrun with rats and mice and
other pests that spread disease everywhere.

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