Why You Should Not Be Afraid of Snakes

It’s October, Halloween is approaching, and you know what that means:  Monsters!  Ghosts!  Goblins!  Zombies!  Snakes!!

Wait a minute, snakes?  Why are snakes associated with Halloween and all these other scary things? Halloween comes in autumn, which is associated with cooler weather in many areas of the country, which means that snakes won’t even be out and on the prowl.

Cottonmouth snake
Cottonmouth snake

Snakes are some of the least understood, most feared, and most persecuted group of animals.  It is estimated that over 50% of people are nervous or anxious in the presence of snakes while another 20% are absolutely terrified.   Many people think that all snakes should be killed on sight, despite the fact that snakes play an important role in controlling rodent populations and only bite if they feel threatened.  In fact, snakes will go to great lengths to be left alone!  Have you ever thought about the rattles on a rattlesnake?  Many people think the sound of the rattles is a sign of aggression from the snake when actually the opposite is true; this is the snake’s method of saying “I’m letting you know that I’m over here; please leave me alone.”

coral-snake-w
Coral snake

There are around 117 varieties of snakes in Texas and they range in size from less than 12 inches to almost 10 feet.  The Houston area is home to 34 different types of snakes.  Of these, only 6 are venomous.  Of these six species, three (Western diamondback rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, and the canebrake rattlesnake) have been pretty much exterminated in Houston and are almost never seen.  The other three venomous snake species in Houston are the copperhead, the cottonmouth (a.k.a. water moccasin) and the Texas coral snake.

Southern Copperhead snake
Southern Copperhead snake

How can you tell these snakes from other snakes?  The absolute best way is just to memorize what these three species look like, and then stay away from any snake that looks like them!  This really isn’t difficult, given all the different things that people memorize every day (computer passwords, stats for all the Texan football players, etc.).  Another general rule is to just leave any snake you see alone and let it go about its business; the snake will return the favor and leave you alone, also.  And remember; statistics show that a person is over seven times more likely to die as a result of a lightning strike than from a venomous snake bite.

So, the next time you see a snake, don’t be afraid!  Just leave it alone.  You may want to say “thank you for helping to get rid of the rats and mice around here.”



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Baby Mantids at the Houston Zoo
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Our corpse flower named "Reek" is showing signs of life! Our horticulture team is monitoring its progress daily for smells of death...

Learn about this interesting plant species and see more photos in our latest blog post.
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Tara Tate, Jasenia Cadena and 23 others like this

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Shelby ColeWhen is it supposed to bloom?

22 hours ago
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Martha VillasenorWhere in the zoo is reek located ? Is it somewhere visible we could see it..

24 hours ago
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Tammy ErwinWhere in the Zoo is Reek located??? We don't want to miss getting a wiff of it.

1 day ago   ·  1
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Trish McIntoshDoes Reek have her own page? Lois at HMNS was hugely popular a few years ago.

1 day ago   ·  3
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Rebecca Ann ColeSally Nergaard remember when you and Kevy went and saw this flower in bloom?

1 day ago
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Ashley MaldonadoAwesome!!! I got to see the corpse flower at hmns 5 years ago! Would love to see it again!

21 hours ago
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Destiny ShuteIs love to come see when it blooms

2 hours ago
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Tasha BhagwandinNot Theon… Reek!

23 hours ago   ·  10
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Casey Jones"You are not Reek, you are Theon Greyjoy!"

22 hours ago   ·  7
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Tyler NunleyI know I'm not the only one who thought of Game Of Thrones when reading this? Lol

20 hours ago   ·  3
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Maura A CampuzanoToo cool

22 hours ago   ·  1
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Lee Anne BayYay, I'm so excited! Watching Lois bloom was a rollercoaster, can't wait to see this one!!

24 hours ago   ·  1
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Angelique RodriguezI've always wanted to see one of these up close!!! ( and of course smell it he he)

1 day ago
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Toni H. NobleWill it bloom before this weekend?

40 minutes ago
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Rachel PossoHa! Love the name.

1 day ago
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Lauren CoxDanny Rubalcava Houston has one now too.. maybe we should get one for the back yard..

22 hours ago
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Alex HestilowI saw the most updated picture, is Reek going to bloom or is it lost? :(

1 hour ago
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Kim Kooser KeefeAWESOME name!!!!

23 hours ago
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Nicki StacySaw this last week, looking forward to updates!

1 day ago
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Maura A CampuzanoGaby Uribe, thought of you

22 hours ago   ·  1
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RickEy DentisPlease keep us updated on Facebook about it. I really want to go see this....thanks

1 day ago
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Neva KloeselRoni Hopkins Glasgow LOOK, Another one!! Be sure to share with your sister!! ;)

1 day ago
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Kayla RichardMelissa Shewbert take the daycare kids to smell this lol

18 hours ago
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Meghan Catherine BernalLaura N Rich lets go to the zoo hahah

22 hours ago
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Asiram Zellet YanezRose Chavez we should go see it!

24 hours ago   ·  1
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