Another danger from the heat

June 27, 2009 6:54:39 AM PDT
This record heat can be dangerous, and we're not just talking about health effects from high temperatures. The summer heat is bringing snakes out of the ground, searching for shady spots and water, possibly in your backyard garden.

Usually, they're out of sight in high brush along bayous, but now snakes are migrating into gardens and sometimes even closer.

"If a snake entered this house, he entered to get some mice," said Dennis Clayton with Master Services Pest Control.

Clayton was called to track down an elusive snake that was spotted in a Ft. Bend County home. He's getting those calls.

"A lot of snakes are confused because it's hot weather," he said.

They're also following the food supply of animals that are moving closer to homes to find water during this drought. The Wildlife Coalition is getting an increasing number of rescued birds and other animals that are showing up near houses or falling out of nests. And to a snake, that's an open invitation.

"So now you have snakes living up near houses where they never would live if they didn't have the previous flood or current drought conditions," said snake expert Clint Pustejovsky.

You may have seen a blotched water snake, a non-venomous, but very mean snake.

"They give you lots of bites and don't want to be held," said Pustejovsky.

There are coral snakes, of which to be wary, copperheads and rattlers. It's just as likely you may encounter a non-venomous variety, like a king snake, which provides rodent control.

If you're frightened of them, harmful or not, your best defense may be the garden hose.

"Squirt water at it," said Pustejovsky. "The snake will move away from your dwelling or where you kids are playing."

Until the weather changes, snakes will be lingering around.

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