Snakes are out early in Texoma this spring. The mild winter means snakes are already coming out of hibernation. Cosme Ojeda is the Director of Operations for the Wichita Falls Better Business Bureau. He and his dog Bear encountered one of the scaly reptiles in their backyard.
Ojeda said, "We heard some hissing, like a snake hissing, then we saw him get into it with the snake. I got out there finally and he'd already started doing some crunching."
The snake was already dead, but Ojeda was worried his dog could have been bitten.
"I grabbed the snake with a stick and brought it inside and looked at it and made sure it wasn't venomous to call the vet."
Ojeda looked online for the 'Snakes of Texas' and thought he found a match: a non-venomous diamond-back water snake. Still, his encounter is one of many already this spring.
Animal Services Administrator Katrena Mitchell said, "We picked up two this morning that were on porches they're just out seeking heat. They come out a lot sooner with the mild winter and its been warm this spring already and its already getting close to 100 degrees so snakes are coming out."
Mitchell also offered advice on how to keep snakes away from your home:
- Keep your lawn mowed.
- Pick up brush piles and bird feed that may have fallen from a feeder.
- Bird feed attracts mice, common prey for many snakes.
- Brush piles offer a habitat for mice.
If you see a snake near your home, Mitchell says to stay away and call Animal Control.
- In Wichita Falls: (940) 761-7824
- Outside W.F. City Limits: Call Sheriff's Department.
If you or your pet is bitten:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Do not try and catch the snake.
- This often results in further injury!
Residents in Wichita falls are just as likely to see snakes as residents in rural areas. Mitchell said, "We see snakes all over Wichita Falls. We see them in the Tanglewood and Canyon Creek areas. There's always rattlesnakes that pop up throughout the year over there and in other parts of town".
Non-venomous snakes captured by animal control are relocated to less populated areas. Venomous snakes are killed.