The Arbors at Dogwood Creek

Snakes

The State of Texas is home to 15 potentially dangerous snake species or subspecies. Despite this, there have been more deaths each year in Texas attributed to lightning strikes than to venomous snakebites!

It is important to remember that not every snake is venomous, and that while the very mention of the word often sends chills up the spine of many people, snakes do have an important role in our Texas ecosystem.

Their contribution in controlling rodents can cannot be overstated!

Equally important is understanding that envenomation is a defensive mechanism for the snake: snakes do not sit in the grass waiting for the unfortunate human to come by. Nor do they pursue or hunt humans. Bites are usually a result of the snake being surprised or cornered, or from someone handling snakes.

Compared to other subdivisions, the Arbors is relatively new and being formerly virgin forest, there are still some wild creatures around that consider this area home.  Snakes are just one species among those wild creatures...

The best way to prevent these snakes from coming around is by not having places for rodents to live. Logs and lumber should be kept well off the ground and rocks should be stored spread out rather than piled up. Remove all debris and keep the yard mowed as far from the house as possible.

Below are some snakes that have been seen in our Arbors :

Non-Poisonous Snakes

ratsnake rat snake
Texas Rat Snake
(Common in the Arbors)

(Note the typical characteristics of this non-poisonous snake: a slim head, prominent eyes, and long tapering tail)

ratsnake

It is non-poisonous, but pugnacious and will bite if handled.

Its tiny teeth, used to grasp prey can produce a series of punctures in human skin but are not any more serious than other cuts one may experience.

This is a harmless snake that should be allowed to do it's job in controlling the mice, rat, and gopher populations...


ratsnake

How can you tell the difference between the non-venomous Rat Snake and the venomous Copperhead?

Check it out HERE

Non-Poisonous Snakes

garter snake
Garter Snake
(Found in an Arbors garden)

It is non-poisonous, active during the day and most frequently seen amid moist vegetation where it searches for frogs, salamanders, toads, and earthworms. Occasionally it takes small fish and mice.

Garter snakes almost always have long stripes running the length of their bodies.

Ill-tempered when first captured, it will bite or expel musk, but it tames quickly and soon becomes docile.

garter snake garter snake

Non-Poisonous Snakes

hognose snake hognose snake
Hognose Snake
(Found in an Arbors lot)

It is non-poisonous, comes in a variety of colors, and has the distinct up-turn at the end of the nose, from which it gets it's name...

It has an interesting defense mechanism: when disturbed, it "hoods" its neck, inflates its body, hisses loudly, and postures like a cobra. (Note: there are NO wild cobras in Texas!).

If this fails to discourage a would-be predator, it rolls over and plays dead with mouth agape and tongue hanging out. It becomes limp and will remain "dead" when picked up;

hognose snake

However, if placed right-side up, it will roll over again, thereby defeating any semblance of being really dead!




Poisonous Snakes

copperhead
Copperhead

(Note the typical characteristics of this poisonous snake: a triangular head and relatively thick tapering tail)


Copperhead


Copperheads are seen frequently in the Arbors subdivision as building here has disturbed their natural habitat.

But the good news is that while this snake is considered poisonous, its venom is the least toxic of all the pit vipers in Texas and its venom glands are the smallest.

Reports of fatalities from its bite are rare, though local hospitals do carry the anti-venom. (Smithville Hospital is recommended)

Some Veterinaries in this area will inventory the anti-venom for the copperhead, but most indicate that unless a pet is already sick or weak, it will recover from a copperhead bite.

Copperheads eat rats, mice, frogs, cicadas, caterpillars and moths. In southern climes such as ours as much as 36% of their diet is composed of insects.

(You really don't want all those scorpions and grasshoppers around on your property do you?)

Poisonous Snakes

coral snake
Coral Snake

Red touching yellow,
Kill a fellow...
Red touching black,
friend of Jack

There have been a few sightings of these snakes in the Arbors, but less every year as more development occurs. It tends to be quite shy, and will flee quickly to avert an encounter.

This snake feeds on other small snakes or lizards. It is highly venomous and should never be harassed or handled.


coral snake

Average length: 24 inches
Maximum length: 47 inches.


Be aware that there are some imposters in the Coral group: snakes that mimic the coloring but are non-poisonous. These are Scarlet King Snakes:


king snake scarlet snake
Average length: 12 inches
Maximum length: 18 inches.

Poisonous Snakes

Rattle snake
Rattle Snake

These snakes average 3 to 4 feet in length. They are nocturnal and spend their days coiled up in the shade.

Diamondback Rattlers range well over central Texas and have been found in Bastrop County. These snakes prefer to avoid places with human activity, but if food or water is scarce, they will forage for food anywhere. They primarily eat rodents and birds found on the ground.

The Diamondback is usually not a tree or house climber, but is able to cope with a stack of logs or piled rocks.

rattle snake

Canebrake Rattlesnakes are also referred to as Timber Rattlesnakes, and are generally found in the Central and Eastern piney woods area of Texas.

This is a threatened species protected in Texas. A few have been found in Bastrop County but are rare. They are a mild mannered snake with potent venom.

 

Note: Rattlers have been reported in the Arbors, but have never been verified as such.