KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 20, 2023
By Natalie Cook Clark
The break in the intense heat is bringing snakes out among residents, though they can still be found all year. Many any kinds of snakes call Katy home, including four that are venomous. This time of year, they are all active and residents should stay alert.
Bessy Gomez found a Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth at her Green Trails home. Photo credit: Bessy Gomez
Katy residents need to stay alert and be cautious of snakes. One Katy mom found one recently at a local playground while her children played. The greater Houston area has 34 different kinds of snakes. Of that number, about four are venomous. If you see a snake, leave it alone or call Animal Control.
Snakes can be Found All Year
While weather can play a major role in encountering a snake, residents should be always knowledgable and cautious. A Katy resident Kristen Johnson and her husband went to go shut off their water ahead of a recent freeze and found a visitor.
"I posted a picture of it on a snake group that I joined when we moved here," says Johnson. "They responded so quickly what type of snake it was and that it was non venomous, so that made me feel better having my husband get it out of there."
They removed the snake and it quickly went off to find a new location.
As Katy continues to grow new construction disrupts wildlife and increases resident encounters with snakes.
Parents Should Be on the Lookout
Many Katy neighborhoods have lakes, such as near this park, that attract snakes. Parents should carefully look around play areas before children play and educate their children to be cautious.
This week a Katy family witnessed as their one-year-old tripped over a snake at a playground.
"While my kids were playing at the Elyson’s Commons at Bear Creek playground, my 1yr old tripped over a snake on the pavement. It was horrible," says Katy Dad Hans Nassh. "You can hear him crying in the video background."
The Nassh during the 30 min. we spent at the playground, we saw multiple snakes," says Nassh.
Video courtesy of Hans Nassh
The snake was later identified as a non venomous racer snake. Still the situation is a good reminder for Katy residents to stay cautious as Katy has snakes.
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 and dangerous bacteria infections.
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.
Diamondback Water Snake (Nerodia rhombifer)
Non-venomous, Very Common, Not Aggressive
MARKINGS: Brown with diamond patterns. Can have a large head and locals often mistake them for cottonmouths.
These snakes are very common in the Katy area, especially around neighborhood lakes.
Any Snake can be Dangerous
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.”
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
Another great resource is the Southeast Snake ID Group.