With temperatures heating up across North Texas, wildlife experts say calls regarding snakes are multiplying by the day. And while they’re seeing an uptick in all types, they’re especially noticing more venomous variations.
Randall Kennedy has been a wildlife specialist for nearly 20 years. During that time, he’s trapped nearly every type of snake native to North Texas. And lately, he’s doing it a lot more often.
“A lot of copperheads, a lot of rattlesnakes, more massasauga than normal, but all of the snakes in general,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy says while snakes are generally found in areas with lots of trees and foliage, it no longer seems to matter where you live as new home construction continues to dominate the North Texas landscape.
Two weeks ago, Chris Vidana was standing in her driveway in Grapevine, just a mile from DFW airport, when she was bitten by a copperhead.
According to the North Texas Poison Center, there have been nearly 100 venomous snake bites so far this year.
Kennedy believes it’s all based on weather conditions and the food supply.
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"Higher humidity and more of a rodent problem throughout the last couple of years, so they're just… you know, the population keeps climbing,” said Kennedy.
That makes encounters increasingly more common.
If you do spot a snake, Kennedy says keep an eye on it. They can easily disappear through a crack in the wall or under furniture making them tougher to trap. He also says to keep your distance, staying at least as far away as the length of the snake.
And while it’s tempting to turn to Google or Facebook for help identifying a snake in your home, Kennedy says it’s crucial to leave that job to the professionals.
“There’s a lot of snakes that look alike. A small rat snake and a masasaga rattle snake will resemble each other a lot. A bull snake and a rattle snake will resemble each other a lot. Some of the non-venomous can rattle their tail. Some of the venomous won’t show you any signs,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy says while snake repellent does exist, the only way to ensure snakes stay out of your home is to make sure it's completely sealed.