As temperatures warm up and summer days approach, North Texans know snake season has arrived.
NBC 5 viewers have been sharing pictures and videos of snake sightings in recent weeks. And that’s commonplace this time of year, as cold-blooded snakes normally hibernate during the winter months and reemerge from their dens in the spring, according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
Matt Morris with Balanced Canine in Midlothian wrote about a recent snake encounter with his neighbor on Facebook.
“My neighbor was bitten on the hand by a copperhead this morning while reaching for tools in his tool box,” he wrote. “Luckily, it looks like a dry bite and he’s not having any symptoms.”
“They’re pretty bad this year, so be careful out there!” he added.
Photos: Watch Your Step! Snake Season in Full Swing
And Morris is certainly no stranger to snakes. NBC 5 spoke with him earlier this year about the copperheads he found during a sweep of his yard.
Several varieties of venomous snakes call North Texas home, including the copperhead, cottonmouth and the Western diamondback rattlesnake, among others.
Snakes are most active at night and during early morning and late evening hours, the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension says.
One of the most common species of snakes isn’t venomous at all. The Texas rat snake, according to an article published by the University of Texas at Arlington, can live in both rural and urban areas. Despite their larger size, Texas rat snakes pose no threat to humans.
A well-fed rat snake is exactly what Travis Hadden seems to have encountered during a run along White Rock Creek Trail.
“I was nearing the end of a 14-mile run on Sunday afternoon when I came across this huge snake!” he wrote in an email to iSee@NBCDFW.com.
“I almost just stepped on that thing,” he says in the video. “Going to wait until that guy passes. Slow and steady.”
Whether a harmless rat snake or a venomous copperhead, experts say it’s best to give any snake its space and leave it alone.
And if you do capture videos or pictures of a snake from a safe distance, you can share it with NBC 5 online here or in an email to iSee@NBCDFW.com.
WHAT TO DO WHEN A SNAKE IS NEAR
It is especially good practice to be careful as rain increases in the area and forces snakes to come out and seek shelter. Here’s what to do just in case:
- Stay calm: Moving too fast can cause the reptile to react and bite your lower body
- Keep your distance, if you hear rattling move away from the area
- Keep your lawn cut low and remove brush or debris
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE BITTEN
If you’ve been bitten by a snake, here is what the CDC recommends.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible (dial 911 or call local Emergency Medical Services [EMS]).
- Antivenom is the treatment for serious snake envenomation. The sooner antivenom can be started, the sooner irreversible damage from venom can be stopped.
- Driving oneself to the hospital is not advised because people with snakebites can become dizzy or pass out.
- Take a photograph of the snake from a safe distance if possible. Identifying the snake can help with the treatment of the snakebite.
- Keep calm.
- Inform your supervisor.
- Apply first aid while waiting for EMS staff to get you to the hospital.
- Lay or sit down with the bite in a neutral position of comfort.
- Remove rings and watches before swelling starts.
- Wash the bite with soap and water.
- Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.
- Mark the leading edge of tenderness/swelling on the skin and write the time alongside it.
Experts say if you are bitten by a snake you should always seek medical attention especially if a child, older adult, or anyone with a compromised immune system is bitten.
If you have been bitten by a snake, contact 911, go to an emergency room, or call the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for help.
WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOU’RE BITTEN:
If you’ve been bitten by a snake, the CDC recommends you DO NOT do the following things.
Do NOT do any of the following:
- Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it. NEVER handle a venomous snake, not even a dead one or its decapitated head.
- Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten, get medical help right away.
- Do not apply a tourniquet.
- Do not slash the wound with a knife or cut it in any way.
- Do not try to suck out the venom.
- Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in water.
- Do not drink alcohol as a painkiller.
- Do not take pain relievers (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen).
- Do not apply electric shock or folk therapies.