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Snakes in the water: Locals encouraged to be aware of wildlife near creeks, lakes

  • 2018-07-09 18:09
  • 아시아뉴스통신=Ian Maclang 기자
Carrollton resident Bart Terrell was out walking along a spillway near Josey Lane and Peters Colony Road taking photographs when something shocking slithered into his viewfinder.


“It was a big snake and surprised me,” said the retired lawman. “I was … taking some pictures of the spillway there at the lake and that thing came out from some rocks by,” he said. “By the time I could get my camera out it was already getting into the water.I decided to leave that area because there may have been other family members of that snake there.”


What Terrell spotted was a large northern water snake.


“I was later told that it was not a venomous snake,” he said. “However, it was a very aggressive snake that would bite you even though it wouldn’t kill you.”


According to the National Wildlife Federation, northern water snakes are very common in the United States.The adults have dark bands, though their coloring can vary from gray, tan, buff or brown.They are often mistaken for copperheads or cottonmouths, but they are indeed not venomous.


However, the NWF cautions that northern water snakes tend to flatten when they are agitated and will bite.It’s best to stay out of their space, which is often basking on rocks in still or slow-moving water.


Adults are between 2 and 4 ½ feet long.These snakes often look different in water than on land when their scales are dry.


“I have seen small, tiny snakes but never one as big as that one,” Terrell said. “If you have been to that spillway you would have seen the rocks that are covered with chicken wire.That’s where that snake crawled out of.”


“Believe me, I retired after 32 years as a law enforcement officer but I got as far from that snake as I could.Scared me right back to the sidewalk!”


Carrollton Animal Services Manager Carl Shooter recommends remaining calm and staying at a safe distance if you spot a snake, gator or other types of potentially dangerous wildlife.


“I am not aware of any reported eels or alligators, but we do have cottonmouth and copperhead snakes, which are both venomous,” he said. “We encourage folks to contact us with any questions related to venomous snakes.Although we always lean towards allowing wildlife remain in its natural habitat, we do want to know if there is an obvious threat to public safety that requires our attention.”


Clayton Church is a spokesman for the Arms Corps of Engineers for Texas.He said the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including around Lewisville Lake, sees alligators, feral hogs that can swim across the lake, bobcats and raccoons.


“There are all kinds of wildlife in those large greenbelt areas … where nature is still nature,” he said. “All those different native animals all the way from the insects to the mammals and the reptiles that are native to this part of Texas are native to those areas.”


Church echoes Shooter in his advice to steer clear.


“In those areas … people should know that wildlife is there, give them a wide path and allow them to be on their way.Stay out of their way and most of them will stay out of your way.”


Last year the Corps had a safety concern when lake levels got really high.Church said rising water levels forces wildlife also to seek higher ground.


Additionally, Church said that during a flood event, fire ants become a real concern in the lake areas.


“When fire ants are flooded out many times they will form a ‘ball of fire’ and move through the water and crawl up on top of each other and keep doing that … move through the water from one location to another,” he said. “If someone were to be out recreating on then and fall out into the water in one of those areas it would not be a pleasant experience.”


This year all the flood risk management reservoirs in the D/FW area are functioning as they are designed to,” Church said.There aren’t any high pool levels like there were in the last two years.


“Creeks and tributaries will have wildlife in them – snakes, insects,” Church said. “The smaller mammals and armadillos, raccoons, will eat the smaller animals.”


Along the residential areas near waterways, Church notes that bobcats are often spotted.He advises bringing pets inside at night and to try not to leave pet food and other types of food outside.
Photo by CandyGuru (Pixabay)

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