Venomous Snakes of the Dallas Fort Worth area
Seven species of venomous snakes occur in the Dallas Fort Worth area. However, it should be noted that the national average for fatal snake bites in the United States is only 2 per year. Also, a vast majority of bite victims are white males ages 18-25 who are capturing, handling or molesting a venomous snake. Oftentimes alcohol or other drugs are involved. While legitimate bites occur on occasion it should be noted that most snake bites are avoidable and are the fault of the bite victim. To help place the reality of a fatal snake bite into perspective, it is interesting to note that more people in the United States die from vending machines falling over on them (after being shaken), being struck by lightning, or due to an allergic reaction from an insect sting.
Most people living in the Dallas Fort Worth area rarely encounter venomous snakes. This is based upon the volume of telephone calls and emails we receive regarding snake identification. Also, vast amounts of habitat are being converted from a natural state to one suited for human use. Unfortunately, habitat loss is not only detrimental to populations of venomous snakes, but other wildlife as well. However, we do receive the occasional email or phone call where an actual venomous reptile has been found.
Given such, it is important to recognize these reptiles should they be encountered. Traditional means of identifying snakes (based upon shape of the head, temperament, etc) are mostly inaccurate and unreliable.
Click the following links for images and information regarding venomous snakes in the Dallas Fort Worth area
*indicates links currently under construction
Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous)
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
*Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
*Massasagua (Sisturus catenatus)
*Pigmy Rattlesnake (Sisturus miliarius)
*Texas Coral Snake (Micrurus tener)
Safety tips for avoiding venomous snake bite
1. Do not attempt to capture or kill a venomous snake.
2. Do not attempt to capture or handle venomous snakes or any snake whose identity you are uncertain.
3. Wear shoes and appropriate clothing when walking through habitats in which snakes occur.
4. When hiking always pay attention to the ground and visually check logs, rocks, and other objects before stepping over them.
5. Watch where you place your hands and avoid placing your hands into rocky crevices, hollow logs, holes in the ground or any such location.
6. When lifting objects in places where venomous snakes occur, boards, logs or rocks should be moved with caution to avoid receiving a bite.
7. If you encounter a venomous snake in the wild leave it alone and move away.
Tips for the First Aid of a venomous snake bite
The survival rate for snake bite victims in the United States is high. Nevertheless, medical attention from a qualified physician should be sought immediately. Depending upon the the species of snake involved and severity of bite treatments can range from the administering of a pain killer and release from the hospital to several days of hospitalization and anti-venom therapy.
1. Do not try to kill or bring the venomous snake that bit the victim. This can sometimes result in another bite!
2. Remain calm. This is important as it allows for clearer thinking and lower blood pressure.
3. If bitten on the arm, hand, or fingers remove all jewelry, watches or long sleeved shirts.
4. DO NOT APPLY TOURNIQUETS OR CONSTRICTING BANDS.
5. DO NOT APPLY ICE TO THE BITE.
6. DO NOT CUT THE BITE AREA IN AN ATTEMPT TO REMOVE VENOM.
7. DO NOT APPLY ELECTRICITY TO THE BITE.
8. DO NOT GIVE THE VICTIM ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES OR ASPIRIN.
9. Keep the victim calm and seek immediate medical attention from a qualified physician.
The bite from a venomous snakes occurring in north Central Texas is an excruciating and painful experience. However, it is important to remember that there is a high survival rate for venomous snake bites in the United States.