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Snakes & Reptiles
Texas is home to over 100 species and subspecies of non-venomous snakes that are for the most part beneficial and harmless. They are carnivorous and eat mostly rodents and insects. There are 4 species of venomous snakes found in US and they are all found in Houston and our surrounding areas. They are the Rattlesnake, Cottonmouth, Copperhead and Coral Snakes.
Snakes are and are usually more afraid of humans than you are afraid of it. The best policy is to leave them alone as they will most likely move on...In fact, most people are bitten by snakes when they try to kill it or get a better look at it.
If you see a snake, it is most likely looking for
- A place to hide
- A place to build a nest
- A place to live
- A mate
DO NOT attempt to handle a snake without an expert identification.
You can minimize the risk of snakes and contact with them on your property by removing old woodpiles, trash piles, rock piles, and animal food that may attract rodents.
Texas Snakes is a good resource for more information on living with and identifying snakes in the Texas area.
Box Turtles are a familiar site in and around Houston. Though they are cute and tempting to play with, Box Turtles can bite!
If you see an uninjured turtle, leave it alone. If you see a turtle in danger (in the road), and you can safely get to it, try to coax it off the roadway with a stick and keep them in the direction they were going. Never touch a turtle without gloves.
Box Turtles are unique and an important part of our ecosystem. It is illegal to keep box turtles as pets in Houston without a permit and they do not usually live well in captivity. Discourage children and pets from playing with or harassing box turtles.
Read more about Box Turtles from the The Box Turtle Partnership of Texas (pdf)
Due to continued expansion of residential and business development into alligator habitats, encounters between people and alligators have become more frequent in our area. Suburbs continue to expand into what used to be marshland and bayous which is home to these reptiles.
Alligators are most active in the Spring when they are searching for new territory to mate and reproduce. You are most likely to see alligator activity in the months of April through July and they are most active at dawn and dusk. Periods of extreme weather conditions such as drought or heavy rains can also prompt alligators to roam in search of new, more ideal living conditions.
It is important to respect these reptiles and learn to coexist safely with them, always treat alligators with the respect they deserve as wild animals.
Common-sense precautions include:
- Never feed an alligator or allow it to get food
- Keep a safe distance from gators of at least 20 feet or more
- Keep your pets on a leash or in a penned enclosure
- Don’t get too close to or swim in areas where alligators are commonly observed
- Don’t harass or agitate an alligator
- Never approach an alligator nest or a pod of young alligators that a female alligator may be guarding