KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 19, 2022
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 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.
Katy Mom Films a Snake at a Playground
Elizabeth Liz caught a snake on camera at the Elyson Bear Creek Commons playground she and her children were playing at. They were there for a neighborhood movie night when her daughter saw the snake under the slide.
She and her children kept their distance and tried to get some good footage of the snake so that others could identify it.
Video credit: Elizabeth Liz
"I know they’re good for the environment and it might not be harmful, but the kids were terrified," says Liz. " I was zoomed all the way in for this video and once it hissed I was gone."
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. In this case Liz's daughter spotted the snake and quickly alerted an adult.
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