KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
June 2, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy continues to grow and expand, bringing residents and wildlife closer together. It's not surprising that many kinds of snakes call Katy home, including five that are venomous. And this time of year, they are all active. Last year venomous snake bites rose 33% and numbers continue to climb.
Bessy Gomez found a Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth at her Green Trails home. Photo credit: Bessy Gomez
Katy residents need to look out for snakes as they and their pets spend more time outside this summer. The greater Houston area has 34 different kinds of snakes. Of that number, about four are venomous and considered aggressive. If you see a snake, leave it alone or call Animal Control.
Katy Families Encounter Venomous Snakes
Last week, Bessy Gomez of Green Trails found a large snake in her yard. Since then the snake was identified by animal control as one of the most frequently seen venomous snakes either a water moccasin or cottonmouth .
Duke Silver, a miniature dachshund belonging to Frank and April Carroll, was bitten by a copperhead last week.
“We just held him and tried to keep him as calm as we could,” says April Carroll.
They took Duke to a veterinarian emergency room where he was treated with pain medication. The family then followed up with Duke's regular veterinarian.
Most Common Katy Snakes
Venomous, Very Common, Aggressive
MARKINGS: Tan or pale brown body with dark brown, hourglass-shaped bands on its back
Although copperheads are typically found in the eastern part of Texas, they have been known to make frequent appearances in Katy. Copperheads like to hide in wooded, suburban areas, and are unaccustomed to being in close proximity to humans.
Western Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin)
(See opening photo)
Venomous, Moderately Common, Moderately Aggressive
MARKINGS: Dark colored, indistinct bands or markings, and a large, flat head that is wider than the neck
Although only 7% of all snakebite cases in Texas involve cottonmouths, this snake is on the list because it has been known to hang out in creeks, irrigation ditches, and rice fields in the Katy area. Their bite can cause severe tissue damage.
Texas Coral Snake
Venomous, Moderately Common, Not Aggressive
MARKINGS: Black head, red, black, and yellow stripes on body
A coral snake's diet consists mostly of small lizards and other snakes. It can be found in urban areas, in gardens, and wooded lots. With neurotoxic venom more potent than other species, it's a good thing they will only bite if provoked.
Texas Rat Snake
Not Venomous, Very Common, Very Aggressive
MARKINGS: Dark-colored, square "spots" on light brown skin
The coloring can vary greatly, but the Texas rat snake is usually yellow or tan, and all have a solid gray head. These snakes can mostly be found around farmlands or fields. They can climb well, and feed mostly on rodents and birds.
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Venomous, Rare, Aggressive
MARKINGS: Black and white banded tail, dark, diamond-shaped blotches, head is wider than the neck
The western diamondback rattlesnake is the most abundant of all venomous snakes in Texas. But the humid Houston climate is not its preferred habitat, as it usually prefers a more dry and arid terrain. Easily provoked, this snake will warn you by shaking or "rattling" its tail if it feels threatened. Seek medical attention immediately if bitten.
Texas Brown Snake
Non-venomous, Very Common, Not Aggressive
MARKINGS: Brown with common black vertical stripe; young ones can have a reddish tint
The Texas brown snake can commonly be found in gardens and flowerbeds. They feed on insects and earthworms.
Any animal bite can result in serious infection and injury, even without venom. If you see a snake, leave it alone unless it seems to pose an immediate threat. In that case call Animal Control.
“The best way to ward off unwanted animals is to control what they eat,” says Chris Williams of Urban Jungle Wildlife Removal. “To avoid snakes, spray for bugs to ward off lizards, control rat and rodent population. Everyone has them but if you control the food source you’ll avoid those types of predators.”
Duke Silver (pictured here) continues to recover from his encounter with a Copperhead.
“We stay out with him now when he’s outside and we only let him in the yard, not in the garden where two snakes have been spotted now,” says April Carroll. “We’ve made our eight-year-old start wearing his boots when he’s outside and not in the yard.”
If you see a snake, call a removal company such as Urban Jungle Wildlife Removal, or your local Animal Control. Katy has three counties and therefore, three animal control offices:
Harris County 281-999-3191
Fort Bend County 281-342-1512
Waller County 979-826-8033