Texas Poisonous (Venomous) Snakes
Snakes are reptiles. Reptiles are cold-blooded so they must warm themselves in the sun or on rocks. Snakes have skin covered with scales and most lay eggs. Some snakes hold their eggs inside until they hatch. Snakes have no legs and no ears.
Venomous Snakes in Texas
There are four kinds of venomous snakes in Texas: coral snakes, copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins) and rattlesnakes.
Only one species of coral snake is native to Texas. The coral snake is shy and rarely seen. It has, in order, red, yellow and black colors. The coral snake has a small mouth, and is usually not aggressive. Its bites are dangerous, but very rare.
What is a Pit Viper?
A pit viper is a type of venomous snake. Copperheads, cottonmouths and rattlesnakes are called pit-vipers because they have a pit near each nostril which is highly sensitive to heat. This pit helps the snake in locating warm-blooded prey.
Nine kinds of rattlesnakes are found in Texas, including the massasauga. Rattlesnakes usually "rattle" before striking, but if they are totally surprised, they may strike before rattling. Most of the rattlesnakes are active at night, when they hunt for prey such as mice, rats and rabbits.
Preventing Snake Bites
Watch where you step, put your hands, or sit down. Venomous snakes live on or near the ground. They lay on rocks, wood piles and other spots for a place to sun and a place to hide. Snakes avoid your huge body, but will definitely bite if stepped on or feel trapped. Most bites happen around the ankle and about 99% of all bites occur below the knee, except when someone accidentally picks up or falls on the snake.
The fangs of venomous snakes are long and sharp but they break easily. These fangs usually don't penetrate canvas tennis shoes and almost never penetrate leather shoes or boots. Watch carefully where you step, and wear boots in tall grass to prevent most snake bites. If you or a friend get bitten, you need to get to a hospital immediately.
Snakes are not something to be feared, but rather a creature to be respected as a fascinating and helpful member of the outdoors.
- Is this animal a bird, mammal, reptile or fish?
- Is it warm-blooded or cold-blooded?
- Is it a predator, prey or both?
- Why are some venomous snakes called pit-vipers?
- How can you prevent being bitten by a snake?