Animal Services Environmental & Neighborhood Services

Six common snakes that call Sugar Land home

brown and beige snake in the grass during daytime

Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem and help maintain the balance of key populations, including earthworms and rodents. The good news is you’re not on that list, as snakes do not prey on humans. If given the opportunity, snakes are prone to retreat or escape in order to avoid confrontation.

Snakes can be dangerous when surprised or cornered. So, what’s the first thing you should you do if you see a snake? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not take a photo to post on Nextdoor and ask “what kind of snake is this?” Instead, you should freeze and give the snake the opportunity to retreat before any harm is done. If you have to move, be sure to move as slowly as possible away from the snake.

While you’re out and about in Sugar Land this summer, you may stumble across one of the following snakes:

Broad-Banded Water Snake

The broad-banded water snake is a non-venomous snake that lives throughout the eastern and southeastern regions of Texas. These snakes are anywhere from 22 to 36 inches long and like to eat small creatures like fish, tadpoles and frogs. The broad-banded water snake is often found in yards when they are trying to find new water sources – they especially love freshly watered lawns. The broad-banded water snake is mostly active during the daytime.

Diamondback Water Snake

The diamondback water snake is not venomous and can live in marshes, rivers, swamps, streams and other forms of water. A natural hunter, diamondback water snakes like to troll shallow water and shorelines to find prey. They feed on slow moving, small fish as well as frogs and toads and can get to be about 29-60 inches long.

Yellow-Bellied Water Snake

The yellow-bellied water snake lives throughout east Texas and east into Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. These snakes grow to be 30 to 48 inches long. It thrives in larger bodies of water like swamps, rivers and marshes and likes to feed on fish, frogs and tadpoles. The yellow-bellied water snake isn’t venomous.

Garter Snake

Garter snakes are generally harmless and can grow to be about 49 inches long. Found throughout most of North America but especially in the southeast United States, garter snakes like to burrow in meadows, marshes and woodland areas. They like grassy areas and can hide among debris, vegetation and rocks.

Water Moccasin – venomous

Also known as the cottonmouth, water moccasins are found in the southeastern United States and mostly feed on fish, frogs, toads and salamanders. They are nocturnal and mostly active at night. Young water moccasins are also known for having bright colors with fluorescent yellow-green tails. Be careful if you spot a water moccasin – they can bite underwater and while they cannot hear, they can pick up vibrations from the ground.

Coral Snake – venomous

Coral snakes love temperate regions in the southern United States, which makes Sugar Land an ideal place for them to live. Coral snakes live under logs, in leaf litter and in moist, rotted wood and mulch, and like to feed on lizards as well as smaller snakes. They are known for being cannibalistic by eating other coral snakes.

Coral snakes are nonaggressive and only account for 1 percent of the snake bites in the U.S., but it’s important to remember that they are venomous. Due to their small teeth, coral snakes have to chew on their victim in order to introduce venom into their system, which then paralyzes the victim’s nerves. If threatened, a coral snake will curl the tip of its tail to confuse its attacker of where its head is. Remember: “Red touches yellow, kill a fellow.”

What do I do if I’m bitten by a snake?

If bitten by a snake in Sugar Land, please get away from the snake if possible, and call for medical treatment immediately.

Any other questions? Give Animal Services a call at 281-275-ADOG (2364).

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