KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
March 15, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark and Jennifer Miko
Spring break shouldn't include snake bites! Katy residents should be extra careful while playing outside and working in the yard. The warmer weather could bring out unwanted wildlife, especially since many types of snakes call Katy home, including five that are venomous.
As the temperatures heat up, Katy residents need to be on the lookout for snakes. Families might think their kids and pets are safe in the backyard, but snakes don't observe property lines, and could be in mulched areas, high grasses, and thick shrubbery. Residents clearing out plants that didn't survive the freeze should be extra careful, because they could be disturbing the home of a wildlife neighbor.
Most Common Katy Snakes
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. Animal control says the water moccasin, or cottonmouth, is one of the most frequently seen venomous 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)
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.
Katy resident Bessy Gomez provided this picture of a snake in her landscaping.
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.”
Who do You Call for Help?
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