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Snake Expert Cautions Gardeners to Pay Attention

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Snake Expert Cautions Gardeners to Pay Attention

Brett Parker of Hill Country Snake Removal will find and remove snakes from yards and properties. He cautions residents to watch out for baby snakes that will be hatching soon -- especially western diamondbacks, which have black-and-white stripes on their tails.

Warmer temperatures mean baby snakes will be hatching soon, and although most snakes are non-venomous there will be more than a few western diamondback rattlesnakes slithering around.

Brett Parker, who owns Hill Country Snake Removal (and is Canyon Lake Fire/EMS’ firefighter of the year) cautions gardeners to exercise caution.

Juvenile rattlers love the water and protection that Hill Country gardens provide.

“There’s not a whole lot of rain right now,” he said. “That’s what gets them to the garden, other than rodents. Sometimes they need a garden for shelter.”

Gardeners — as well as anyone else who spends time outdoors — should avoid sticking their hands anywhere they can’t see them and wear the right shoes.

Baby rattlers are easily identified by the black-and-white stripes on their tail, Parker said.

He said he typically gets calls from clients once a snake hides under a house, shed or is no longer visible.

“What I offer isn’t just to get the snake,” Parker said. “If someone has a baby rattlesnake in their garden, not only will I get it, but I’ll inspect the property for any others that you haven’t seen yet.”

As for all of the other snakes about to be born … Parker said to expect baby garter snakes, rat snakes and other varieties he’ll be discussing in early April at his next Texas Snake Identification and Safety Class. Details will be posted on Hill Country Snake Removal’s Facebook page.

He said non-venomous snakes are far more common in Comal County than rattlers, but offers the following pointers for water-lovers:

  • There are rarely copperheads in Canyon Lake. Venomous snakes are rare. However, cottonmouths and rattlers do swim.
  • If a snake heads for your boat, it’s looking for a place to rest, not someone to bite. “It’s just wanting to hang out for a minute.”
  • Cottonmouths do like to hang out in the feeder creeks on the north side of Canyon Lake. Shallower waters are warmer during cooler months.

About Brett Parker

Brett Parker was five years old when he watched his grandmother in Splendora take a hoe to a garter snake, chopping it to pieces before announcing that the only good snake was a dead snake.

Horrified, he made it his mission to protect snakes from grandma.

Parker’s still trying to protect snakes from ignorance.

“I want to set the facts straight,” he said. “One of the biggest problems around this area is when we see a snake in the water, we assume it’s a cottonmouth or water mocassin when in reality, 99-percent of the time, it’s a non-venomous water snake.”

An avid kayaker, Parker said he’s only come across two snakes along the Canyon Lake portion of the Guadalupe River, and both were non-venomous.

“What people don’t realize is, you’re living in Canyon Lake. We live in their home, just like the deer and whatever other animals you’re going to come across. You need to understand there are snakes around. You might not want to let your kids run around barefoot. Educate them about native wildlife.”

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