Ways to avoid snake encounters

It’s summertime and like it or not, snakes are out.
Last year, several news organizations reported an increase in the number of venomous snake bites in Texas and other states like North Carolina and Georgia.
Rapid urbanization and higher-than-normal amounts of rain were blamed for the spike in bites, especially since they were occurring more frequently in suburban areas.
Maureen Frank, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service wildlife specialist, Uvalde, said snakes, whether we like them or fear them, are active around the house and in their natural habitat this time of year.
People can encounter snakes while walking trails, camping or just doing summer yard work around the house, she said. There’s little to fear about snakes if a few basic precautions and principles are applied before and during an encounter.
Snakes are integral to Texas’ array of regional ecosystems. While many Texans view them as a dangerous pest, they are an important predator of insects and animals.
There are about 75 snake species in Texas, but only about a dozen are venomous.
Even though most species are non-venomous, Frank said her best advice is to avoid contact with any snake.
Snakes are typically not aggressive and will typically escape an area if they hear someone approaching.
Frank said the best way to avoid snake bites is to watch where you step or reach and to keep your distance if you see one.
“When you encounter a snake, it’s best to just leave it alone,” she said. “Most bites occur when a person is trying to handle the snake or trying to kill it. It’s best to give them plenty of room and let them go on their way.”

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.