Central Texas snake sightings increase as season gets active

The most active snakes right now include the venomous western diamondback rattlesnake in the Austin area. (KEYE TV)

Snake sightings are being reported across Central Texas. The most active snakes right now include the venomous western diamondback rattlesnake in the Austin area. And signs alerting people to the danger of snakes are being placed along trails, parks and creeks in the region.

For the same reason Texans love spring, snakes do too. "We have normally one to two sightings every couple of weeks," said Justin Bussey, who rents kayaks in Brushy Creek Park.

"They're hungry. It's breeding season for most species and our daytime temperatures are not too hot," said Tim Cole of Austin Reptile Service.

Cole says flooding can displace snakes. "I had a call last night. A UPS man wouldn't deliver a package because there was a snake sitting on the doorstep," said Cole.

Austin Reptile Service gets calls to remove snakes and Cole also provides property surveys to make suggestions to people on how to avoid attracting snakes to their property.

He suggests you make sure tall grass is mowed, be diligent in checking your yard before letting pets and children play and if you see a snake, always walk away or spray it with a garden hose. "Quite often people trying to kill a snake get bitten doing so, so it's really safer not to try and kill it," said Cole.

Some Texans mistake the non-venomous rat snake as a rattlesnake because the rat snake vibrates its body and makes a similar sound.

Snake culture will be on display and experts can answer questions at the first-ever Lone Star Rattlesnake Days happening Saturday & Sunday, April 30 & May 1 at the Travis County Exposition Center. More details can be found at their website.

"We hope to help people to understand you can live alongside these animals and there are ways to keep yourself safe and still allow the snakes to exist," said Kristen Wiley, the co-director of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.

The Kentucky Reptile Zoo is primarily a venom production facility and Wiley showed KEYE TV a venom extraction. "That is something you really can't see very many places in the world," said Wiley.

The venom is used in medical research for cancer, high blood pressure, stroke and more. It's also used to make the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs.

"I'm not asking anybody to like them. I'm not asking anybody to love them. I'm just asking people to respect them," said Cole.

If you suffer a snake bite, call 9-1-1 immediately. Cole says EMS can rate the severity of the bite and if you require antivenin, EMS can call ahead to the hospital to prepare it, which takes about twenty minutes. You could also go into anaphylactic shock as well.

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