Texas Poisonous Snakes

When you think of Texas, the most famous state of the American West, you think of cowboys, rodeos, horse riding and blazing pistols! Texas visitors can also hike, bike, go camping in over 108 state parks or go swimming and sunbathing on the 600 miles of beaches along the Texas Gulf Coast.

But it is just this kind of wonderful and wild outdoor adventures that bring unsuspecting visitors into the domains of Texas poisonous snakes. This article seeks to explain a little bit more about each of the Texas poisonous snakes and how to avoid them.

There are over 100 some species and subspecies of snakes found inside the borders of Texas, but only 16 of them can make the Texas poisonous snakes “hot” list. These “hot” or venomous snakes can be easily grouped into four main species: Copperhead, Cottonmouths, Rattlesnakes and Coral Snakes.

The species group that has the most members on the Texas poisonous snakes list is the Rattlesnake (genera Crotalus and Sistrurus). There are nine, yes 9 rattler species in Texas! Poisonous snakes like the rattlesnake are widely spread, aggressive and are the largest native venomous snake species in North America. Their hissing rattling sounds they make are distinctive.

The next family of venomous pit vipers on the Texas poisonous snakes checklist is the Copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix). Copperheads while poisonous are a very docile and lethargic animal unless provoked. This lightly colored species has “hourglass” shaped bands across their bodies.
The Cottonmouth or Water moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorous), like the rattlesnakes is one of the more aggressive members of the Texas poisonous snakes honor roll. This snake can be a deep olive green or dark brown or almost solid black with almost invisible darker bands across the body. Cottonmouths will stand their ground when threatened. They will open their jaws wide to display their fangs and the much lighter colored tissue inside the mouth, hence their name.
The final member of the Texas poisonous snakes’ hot list is the Coral Snake. This member of the Cobra species is found mostly near the coast or shorelines. This very venomous snake is often mistaken for the similarly colored, yet harmless King snake. Coral snakes have red and yellow bands that overlap and touch. Texans often use the saying, “Red on Yellow kills a Fellow! But red on black, venom lack,” to teach the difference between these two snakes.

How to avoid being bitten by a Member of Texas Poisonous Snakes Most Wanted

  • Even the most aggressive of snakes want to be left alone. If you give them enough time, they will recognize you coming and literally slither away from you. So if you see a snake, stay back and let it leave the area.
  • Don’t pick up or handle snakes! It doesn’t matter how cool, animal handlers in the movies on television make holding snakes seem, don’t pick up any snake unless you know what you are doing. Naturalists and herpetologists train for this stuff and yet even they are bitten eventually.
  • Keep your distance! Rattlesnakes can accurately lunge and bite prey from a coiled position to over a third of their body length! This means that a 6 foot rattler has strike range of at least 2 feet in any direction. And they can strike while moving by the way.
  • If bitten, take first aid procedures and get to an emergency clinic that stocks antivenin as quickly as possible. We like to use a sling backpack to carry out first aid kit in. It’s easy to store and easy to carry.

Now that you understand a little more about Texas’ poisonous snakes, you can make plans to enjoy your vacation even more!