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By Teresa Bigham/The Hesperian-Beacon—
FLOYD COUNTY – With the warmer weather, everyone is wanting to find something to do outdoors. However, warmer temperatures also means snakes are on the move.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, most snakes found in Texas are harmless, but residents should always be careful.
Common garden snakes in West Texas include the rough green snake, earth snake and the rat snake. There also are non-venomous snakes in the area that may mimic venomous snakes, such as the hognose snake. The most common venomous snake in the area is the rattlesnake.
Residents are cautioned to do their best to avoid snakes when they are visible, but sometimes snakes can be hiding in places many least suspect, including a bush or even a planter box.
Unfortunately, snakebites can happen. If bitten by a snake the Mayo Clinic advices individuals to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number, especially if the bitten area changes color, begins to swell or is painful.
Health officials warn to try and remain still and calm, remove jewelry and tight clothes before swelling starts. Also, get into a position, if possible, so the bite is at or below the level of the heart and clean the wound with soap and water.
The Mayo Clinic also said do not apply a tourniquet and do not use ice. Do not cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom and do not try to capture the snake. Try to remember the color and shape to be able to describe it or use a cell phone, if it’s safe, to get a picture of the snake.
If a pet is bitten by a snake, it should be seen by a veterinarian, especially if the bite-site starts to swell. If left untreated, the bite could develop into a bacterial infection because snake mouths can harbor a variety of bacteria.
The best way to prevent any trouble with snakes this season is to treat each snake with respect and give it plenty of distance. Enjoy the outdoors but always be cautious, officials said.