Please Don’t Kill the Snakes

They Have a Job To Do

June 3, 2016

Wet weather and high waters in Buffalo Bayou and other streams have brought more snakes into Houston area yards.

Serpents slither but really they’ve been getting a bum rap since that report about an alleged role in losing paradise.

A reader recently sent in a photo of a couple of snakes in his neighborhood on Buffalo Bayou. His dog had cornered a snake in his yard, he said. The snake coiled, tensed and opened his mouth. Thinking to protect his dog, the man speared the snake with a heavy bar. A few minutes earlier, a neighbor had also encountered and killed a snake on his property. Hence, the photo of two dead snakes.

Two snakes recently killed in a residential neighborhood on Buffalo Bayou were not venomous.

Two snakes recently killed in a residential neighborhood on Buffalo Bayou were not venomous.

It turns out, however, that neither of these snakes was venomous.

The snake with its mouth open is probably an Eastern Hognose snake, according to our expert naturalists. “Harmless but puts on quite a show,” wrote environmentalist Bruce Bodson in an email. “The other one appears to be a Blotched Water Snake, also harmless but will bite in self defense.”

Beneficial Role of Snakes

“Snakes are generally beneficial, in that they eat plenty of rats mice and roaches,” writes naturalist/geologist Tom Helm. “They have always been around the bayous, but with the last two years of wet weather they are becoming more abundant, mainly because their prey animals are becoming more abundant. Please don’t kill the snakes, they have a job to do!”

More about water snakes here. More about Eastern Hognose here.

Learn about Texas snakes.

One thought on “Please Don’t Kill the Snakes”

  1. Janice Walden says:

    Unless you live around them, you don’t get educated on them. I grew up around snakes, running barefoot in the woods near Buffalo Bayou. Saw lots of snakes in my childhood. Never killed a one. Our dogs also saw lot of snakes, and knew how to be around them. A serious intent to teach children in Science about snakes should be in our state curriculum. Kids are fascinated – and fearful – of snakes. What a great way to engage their minds and early appreciation. Don’t wait until that Maybe trip to the Arboretum.

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