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City of Plano Parks and Recreation

Posted on: July 18, 2018

Season for snakes: What to know while visiting Plano’s parks and trails


The natural areas of Plano’s parks are home to a wide variety of wildlife, from birds and bobcats to reptiles and raccoons. They are also home to seemingly less savory animals, such as snakes and spiders. This time of year is when we usually see more snakes due to the warmer weather. Signage at our nature preserves remind visitors to “Watch for Wildlife” and “Observe But Don’t Disturb” as a way of keeping both our visitors and animal residents safe.

Despite their reputation, snakes are not the enemy when it comes to our local ecosystems. In fact, snakes play a key role in the balance of nature. As predators, they are invaluable for their role in maintaining the balance of nature by helping keep populations of their prey in check. More specifically, they act as keen eradicators of mice and rats, making some snakes a farmer’s best friend.

The Lone Star State is a cornucopia of snake diversity, the vast majority of which are non-venomous and completely harmless. Only 15 percent of the total number are venomous and should be treated with caution and respect. The venomous varieties can be grouped into four basic categories: coral snakes, copperheads, cottonmouths (also known as water moccasins), and rattlesnakes. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers some helpful information on their website, as well as fun facts about these fascinating creatures and how to identify them.

Here are a few tips to consider for your next outdoor adventure at our parks, trails or nature preserves:

  • Snakes do not prey on humans and they will not chase you; in fact, they usually retreat or escape if given the opportunity. The danger comes when they are either surprised or cornered.
  • The majority of bites result from people taking unnecessary or foolish risks with venomous snakes. Freeze when snakes are known to be nearby until you know where they are. Allow the snake to retreat.
  • If you must move, back slowly and carefully away from the snake.
  • Do not play around with a dead snake, as they are known to bite and inject venom because of muscle contractions.
  • Snakes like tall grass. Be careful when stepping over fallen logs and rock outcroppings and take care along creek banks and underbrush.
  • Animal burrows make excellent habitat for snakes—do not reach in without first checking.
  • Heavy footwear, leggings or boots will help reduce risk.

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