BRYAN, Texas — With snake season upon us here in Texas, a wildlife biologist and professor share how snakes are protecting our ecosystem.
Bobby Allcorn is a wildlife biologist and expert on snakes. He says during the warm months, we begin to see more of these cold-blooded creatures.
“Snakes are ectotherms, what a lot of people call cold-blooded," said Bobby Allcorn, wildlife biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife. “They really prefer that warm weather to help them get out and get moving. You’ll see a lot of them start to get out and maybe interact with people a little more often than they normally do just because of the temperatures and how the seasons are changing.”
Even though snakes can be scary, their surprisingly good for the environment and help keep unwanted rodents like rats or mice out of our homes.
“Snakes play an important role in our local ecosystem,” said Allcorn. “They’re really out there taking care of insects, other lizards, some other snakes, going after small mammals, things like mice and rats.
Dr. Fitzgerald says that's why it's important, not to kill every snake you see.
“What was this snake I just killed?,” said Dr. Lee Fitzgerald, professor and curator of amphibians and reptiles, Texas A&M University. “90 percent of the time, I say well that was a Texas rat snake that’s really beneficial because it eats house mice and rats and now it’s dead for no reason.”
We definitely should not touch them.
“Most of the people that are bitten by copperheads and cottonmouths and rattlesnakes, that happens because they were trying to handle the snake and maybe pick it up behind the head or something like that which is very dangerous,” said Dr. Fitzgerald.
There are also options available to keep snakes off your property.
“You can do a lot by taking care of the landscaping around your home,” said Dr. Fitzgerald. “Things like building materials, plywood, sheet metal, all those things are great hiding places for snakes.”
Dr. Fitzgerald says it's important to study what snakes look like so you can be familiar with which ones may be venomous.
With more dry weather possible and warmer temps, snake season will come to an end around June to July.