Summer can be a great time for enjoying the great outdoors with family and friends. However, summer can also be a dangerous time if a person is not mindful of the creatures that occupy the environment around them.

There are several different kinds of reptiles that make their homes in the local geographical area, one of which is the Southern Copperhead. The Southern Copperhead is a species of venomous snakes that usually reside in wooded areas or gardens. As adults, the species generally get to be around 24-30 inches long. They are known for their sandy brown body and dark brown cross bands that could look almost like Hershey’s kisses to the human eye.
Though they are not the most lethal species of snake, a bite from one can cause pain, swelling and even erode the skin. Especially now in the summertine when people will be spending more time outdoors and the copperheads are active, it is imperative to take as many precautions as possible to prevent oneself from being bitten. Homeowners with outdoor decks need to be mindful to seal up the bottom of their deck, as the shaded area underneath would make a nice resting place for reptiles such as the copperhead.
Pet owners with outdoor pets need to be careful to not leave bags of pet food unsealed or outside as this could attract small pests such as rodents which are the ideal prey for copperheads.
Gardeners in the area need to be aware that copperheads love to hide in flowerbeds. Tall grass and dense shrubbery also make it easier for copperheads to stay hidden in a yard, so it should be a priority to keep both at a manageable length. People who enjoy hiking should wear sturdy boots to keep their feet protected. Matthew Abernathy, a wildlife specialist and horticulture coordinator from Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center says that it is important to “... always remember that snakes are wild animals and that if you come across one, keep your distance. Do not provoke it, and you should be safe.”

A Southern Copperhead is camoflauging itself among dead leaves and a fallen tree branch.


Although it is always important to take precautions, there is still a possibility one might get bitten. If that ever happens, there are a few things to remember. First, get to the hospital immediately. Do not try to hunt down or kill the snake, as that wastes valuable time and could lead to being bitten more than once. Try to identify the key features of the snake, so that doctors can have the best idea on how to treat your wound.
The best way to have a fun and safe summer is to keep oneself informed about the wildlife that habitats the area. According to Abernathy, “the best way to deal with wildlife is through information.”
For more information on copperheads or other reptiles, you can speak with a wildlife specialist from Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center at 713-755-6444 or visit their website at hcp4.net/community/parks/jones.

 

 

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