Snake bites in Texas Panhandle up 40 percent from last year

Snake bites in Texas Panhandle up 40 percent from last year
Snake bits on the rise (Source: Texas Tech Poison Center)

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - With this evening being an exception, the Panhandle has experienced a very hot and dry spring, resulting in more snakes on the hunt for water.

“We have had more snake bites in our area. Also, if you’re on Facebook, you’ll see people posting pictures where they have seen snakes in the Canyon or in the front yard while they are mowing. I do believe we have had more snakes out in our area,” said Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, managing director at Texas Panhandle Poison Center.

So far, there is a 40 percent increase in snake bites compared to last year, and it’s not just humans getting bit.

“We have had calls about dogs and cats being bitten, so that is occurring, and that is a concern. For dogs, there is a vaccine for rattle snake bites, so you can actually have your dog vaccinated if they are going to be at risk,” said Jaramillo-Stametz.

Snakes are cold blooded, so they come out mostly in the heat of the day to recharge, especially during hot summer days. Today’s rain will have an effect on their presence as well.

“Often their dens will flood, so they will have to come out, but they also love the humidity. Storms come during the hot times, and so a combination with the temperature and the humidity is just perfect for snakes. Often their prey is out during rain storms,” said Liberty Mildner, employee at Scales and Tails.

Mildner says, if you see a snake on your property, don’t try to kill it. Instead, call a wildlife service or snake removal service.

“There are several snakes that are keystone species, including rattlesnakes. Keep a lot of pests at bay, so prairie dogs, mice, rats, squirrel, any kind of rodent,” says Mildner.

If you come in contact with a snake, back away and leave it alone, because they don’t typically chase after you.

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