Texas Wild – Professionals Don’t Kill Rattlesnakes

(Feature photo courtesy of: Texas Wild)

“Professionals don’t kill rattlesnakes. People who are afraid of snakes kill rattlesnakes.” ~ Dr. Ray Matlack

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Here is my two cents, because I always seem to have a little change to spare:

♠  Never kill a snake, even if it bit you. All snakes are more beneficial to your environment and biosphere than they are ever even slightly dangerous to you. Rodents are known disease carriers and snakes are uniquely evolved to keep those small, fecund, furry populations in check. No snakes, more mice.

♠  Teach your children to respect snakes, not fear them. Teach them never to handle a snake, no matter how small, but to come get Mom or Dad instead. Here’s how our kids roll when it comes to snakes.

♠  Keep debris and leaf piles in places where children don’t play but where they can still provide effective cover for your yard snakes. You want them! A safe haven from aerial predators is crucial for when they’re not out hunting, and it will serve as their designated hidey-hole whenever you’re out walking the garden space. You’ll never even know they’re there. We love our resident rat snakes (click it! Ginny is videographer) as much as we do our tasty edibles.

♠  When you see a snake, it has already ‘seen’ you first with its heat-sensing capability. The courteous rattlesnake will even let you know you’re too close by rattling its tail. So thoughtful of him.

♠  Of the more than one hundred snake species in Texas, there are only four venomous ones to know by sight: Copperhead, Cottonmouth, Rattlesnake, and Coral Snake. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and back away. None of them want to be anywhere near you and will go on their way as soon as they don’t feel threatened by you.

♠ Only 1 per 500 or 1 to 2 people per year on average die from being bitten by a snake in Texas. Most of the 7,000 annual bites are ‘dry,’ containing no venom. A snake does not want to waste its precious venom on you — something it cannot eat. It just wants you to leave it the heck alone, already.

♠  The best ‘tool’ to handle a snake is your brain. How about we use it?

Here’s a video of Dr. Matlack doing his part in keeping Texas Wild. Look for them on your PBS station!

[Email readers: This is a video. View it at the blog.]

Related posts:

Thank you, Jessie and Ray, for what you do for Texas
wildlife and education.
Go Wild!

7 thoughts on “Texas Wild – Professionals Don’t Kill Rattlesnakes

    1. Yes, and that same ‘tool’ is very useful in a lot of other situations too. It doesn’t even need a carrying case or have to be cleaned and put away when done!


  1. I wish I had snakes in my yard! I’ve seen some big lizards, but no snakes yet. I certainly have a mice population to support a few. I am, however, a bit uncomfortable about the poisonous ones, but that’s simply because I’m not familiar with them having not grown up around many. Snakes in general don’t bother me at all. We have rattlesnakes here, but not in town, and I’ve only seen one once while hiking.


    1. Snakes are great garden friends, Melissa, but yard chickens will usually try to instinctively kill them.

      My garden beds aren’t ‘contained’ or otherwise raised, so when things get a little too bushy in the middle of summer, I will gently poke a stick through where I am going to harvest to make sure slither-y friends make retreat. They’re pretty good, always heading for cover in the brush pile I’ve made for them in the corner of my garden space. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen rodents on our property!


  2. I grew up where there were no poisonous snakes. We would lay out boards just to later go lift them and see what snakes we’d attracted (and then catch them, watch them, and let them go.) I took a snake to school in fourth grade where it escaped from its hole-punched Tupperware during recess and was discovered two weeks later in the hall…My teacher, terrified of snakes, was none too pleased.
    Down here, I leave them all be. I don’t see them often but am always happy when I do!


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