Rattlesnake Bite Cases Up

Watch where you step Texomans! We're in the prime of rattlesnake season.

United Regional officials said, so far this year 16 people have been treated for rattlesnake bites. All of last year they only had 14 cases. The chance of you hearing or seeing a rattlesnake in your backyard is bigger during this time of year.

"They need food and they need water. With the drought and even construction going on it's bringing them out in throngs," said Tammy Reece, an advocate for rattlesnake awareness and Executive Director of Peyton's Project.

Females reproduce babies between August and October and they can actually give birth to about 10 newborns.

"They have just as much venom as the bigger rattle snakes. They may not be able to control the flow of the venom as well," said Katrena Mitchell, the Wichita Falls Animal Services Administrator.

Three years ago a rattlesnake bit and killed Reece's 23 month old niece, Peyton Hood. It happened at a playground in Possum Lake Kingdom.

"It was right next to our cabin. They had been playing in the play set for about 30 minutes. That is not something you actually think about, like looking at the bottom of a slide's stairs," said Reece.

Reece said, there are other places you should bee looking out for.

"If it's really hot, they're going to be in places that are cooler such as flower beds with overgrowth and even overgrown areas. They'll be under rocks, under logs," said Reece.

Also, all of our dry vegetation with seeds attracts mice and rats and rattlesnakes will be on the look out to strike and eat them.

"Make sure you're keeping your yards mowed short. Any brush piles, wood piles anything like that would be a good hiding spot for a snake down to a very minimum," said Mitchell.

Experts said, rattlesnakes react to sudden movements, so if you see one stay calm and back away slowly. Also remember even if you think you're at a safe distance, you might not be. They can actually propel their bodies in a striking position for up to half of their body length.

If you see a rattlesnake in your backyard or around your neighborhood call Wichita Falls Animal Control at 940-761-7824.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6