Dallas Snake Sighting Prompts Park Warning

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s not fancy, but, the homemade signs send a simple, on-point message: “Snake Warning.”

Posted on trees at the entrance to Harry Moss Park in Dallas, the warning alerts other pet owners that a dog was bitten by a copperhead snake in the park earlier this month. The dog died.

“The last time we went on a walk, we saw tons of baby snakes,”  said Demrie Henry, who lives across the street from the park.

She says her family often loads up the wagon with their three boys and a fat English bulldog to explore the nature paths.

But, news of venomous snakes, she said, will keep them away for now;  the concern hits too close to home.

“It really scares me,” Henry said.

The family lost another pet to a snake bite while visiting a ranch several years ago.

“She was just running through the woods, lifted up a rock, and there was a copperhead with about six baby snakes and they all bit her on the face,” Henry said.  “Her face was huge, and we ended up having to put her to sleep; it was devastating.”

Local wildlife expert Matt Evans, owner of A Wildlife Pro, said he doubts that there are more snakes in the park now than in previous years. But, agrees that they are likely more visible as they look to avoid the rising water from recent heavy rainfall.

“Just assume that if you’ve got tall grass, just assume that there’s probably snakes in it,” Evans said. “It’s not a reason to panic.  Just realize they’re probably around.”

While neighbors are most concerned about the poisonous copperhead, Evans said the casual observer will have difficulty distinguishing the snake from the more common Texas rat snake.

“The copperhead will have slanted eyes,” Evans said.  “The rat snake will have round eyes.”

Still, if you’d just as soon not get close enough to tell the difference, Evans recommends shuffling your feet if you must walk through tall grass.

“You want to sweep the area with your feet,” he said.  “That way, if you happen to brush against the snake, it’s not going to strike you, it’s just going to leave. If you step on the animal, it’s going to bite you.”

Great advice—but, is it enough to get the Henrys back on these trails?

“Probably not,” Demrie Henry said. “It’s not worth the risk.”

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One Comment

  1. razmoe jig says:

    So the picture, shown with the article on “Copperhead Snakes”, has a round eyed Texas Rat Snake, right?

    1. David says:

      Don’t take this guys advice of “sweeping” with your feet. A snake will bite you regardless if it feels it’s in danger. Stay on trails or sidewalks. Snakes don’t typically sit in a trail or on a sidewalk.

  2. R. Clay says:

    Snakebite is not always fatal to dogs. If your dog gets bitten, remain calm and try to keep the dog calm. The severity of the bite depends on several factors like the size of the dog, where the dog was bitten, the amount of venom injected, and the type of snake. If at all possible, determine what kind of snake bit the dog. Study up on how to identify the different snakes in your area as its important to treating a human snakebite victim as well as a dog. Get the dog to your vet or an emergency vet as soon as possible. I had a 20 lb rat terrier bitten on the leg by a copperhead and the emergency vet administered large doses of an antihistamine. The dog was definitely sick and lathargic for about 3 days but did recover from the bite. Mind you this emergency vet bill was between 300 and 400 dollars but the dog did survive. If you are able to get to your normal vet during normal business hours, I’m sure the bill would be much less.

    1. Bonnie B says:

      Keep in mind as well that there is a rattlesnake vaccine available for dogs-if you take your dog out to the country or into any wild areas, it would be an excellent preventative for that kind of snake.

    2. Jeffro says:

      Why waste those hard earned dollars. Put the dog down. Learn how to deal with loss.

  3. Big Cat Daddy says:

    Copperhead snakes have heads shaped like a spade shovel…triangular…look for that., plus they have a bad attitude….

    1. waf_98 says:

      No, they don’t have a bad attitude. They are shy, retiring snakes who will quickly beat a hasty retreat if given the opportunity. If provoked, yes, they will bite, but that doesn’t qualify them as having a bad attitude. I’d hate to see you try to pick up a copperhead thinking it was safe, just because it didn’t have a “bad attitude.” If you want to be able to identify a copperhead, use Google to lookup photos. They are a one of a kind snake.

      1. andy says:

        waf_98, you are a dumba**, why dont you goto the rattlesnake round up in west texas, they will show you that baby copperheads,rattlesnake,and all other snake with poison can deliever more venom than older ones. please dont give someone advice unless you know facts, i do because i seen copperheads,and all other snakes at this show, believe me this a true fact about baby snakes with venom.

      2. waf_98 says:

        Hey Andy, thanks for showing your true intellect by calling me a name just because you disagree with. Your mental deficit aside, the issue is not about which snakes can “deliver” more venom, it’s about which snakes “have” more venom. You can randomly select any two snakes and one of them will deliver more venom than the other. Some say that baby snakes have less control and are more likley to “blow their load” on a single envenomation. I have no problem wiht that. But since we’re talking about which snakes “have” more venom, I’ll say again that baby snakes, being smaller, have less venom than adult snakes.

  4. FedUpTxn says:

    One thing many in the South do no know; The bite of a baby snake has more poison than that of a large snake. That is why children should NEVER play with baby snakes they find outdoors even if it looks like a garden snake.

    1. waf_98 says:

      Actually, you mean “more potent poison,” not “more poison.”

  5. Neil A says:

    With regard to the story on the Copperheads at Moss Park dated 3-29-12. In the story it states that a dog was bitten by a Copperhead “earlier this month” and refers to the neighborhood signage that indicates a date of 3-18-12. In the story it states that the dog died. While alerting the public to the dangers of snakes in a public park is decidedly the right thing to do and we applaud the story on those grounds, my wife and I would like to correct the record with regard to the dog that was bitten on Sunday the 18th. She did not die. We know this because it was our dog, Lucy, who was bitten at about noon on the 18th, at Moss Park. A neighbor assisted by calling ahead to our Vet to alert them to the incoming bitten dog, Lucy arrived at the Vet within 15 minutes of the bite and was treated immediately. She was in intensive care for about a day, but then proceeded with a very quick recovery. Today, a week and a half later she has the scars of the bite on her left front paw, but otherwise is back to her normal self.

    While alerting the public to the dangers of snakes in our parks is the right thing to do, it is important to be accurate with the details. And important to show that with immediate care this kind of bite does not have to be fatal.

    1. waf_98 says:

      What? You expect a news report to be factual?

    2. AK says:

      So very glad your dog Lucy is okay. @waf_98 please mature.

      1. waf_98 says:

        AK, please learn to recognize a humorous “tongue in cheek” response to a posting which chides the news media for inaccuracy. Maybe I should have put a smiley face after it.

  6. waf_98 says:

    I’m having a hard time believing that a wildlife expert said that Copperheads have “slanted eyes.” Surely the reporter misheard. They do not have slanted eyes, nor does any snake have slanted eyes. All snake eyes are perfectly round. However, the PUPILS for copperhead, water mocassins, and rattlesnakes are unique in that they are elliptical, like a cat’s, sometimes so much so that they can appear as just a vertical slit.

  7. David Wooten says:

    The US is one place in the world where it is fairly easy to tell the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. Just about all poisonous snakes in the US are either coral snakes or pit vipers, the latter of which includes rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths (water moccasins). Coral snakes are rare, shy, mostly nocturnal and too small to be dangerous although their poison is highly toxic. Pit vipers are stout-bodied with elliptical, slanted eye pupils. Rattlesnakes, of course, are known for their rattles but be aware that many non-poisonous snakes vibrate their tails. It is a good idea to look at the many images of snakes that can be found on the internet to help recognize and identify them.
    The temperament of pit vipers varies considerably. I have pinned down Timber Rattlesnakes with sticks many times, before letting them move on, and none has ever tried to bite. Copperheads, on the other hand, though they usually try to get away first, do turn and attempt to bite if pinned down. And I have heard that Diamondbacks tend to stand their ground but haven’t come across one in the wild yet.

  8. Lynda says:

    Dogs are suppose to be on a leash in a public park for their own protection, the protection of humans and wildlife.

  9. Paul C. says:

    My wife and I saw two copperheads at the Arbor Creek preserve in Plano/North Carrollton. The warm weather definitely has the snakes out and about.

  10. Gonzo Cooner says:

    Snakes can be very hard to detect so be on the lookout when walking in “their territory”. Copperheads are difficult to spot on dry leaves which are the same color.

    A friend of mine was struck by a copperhead. The fangs hung into his bluejeans, but did not touch the skin. But the snake was stuck there tangled with it’s fangs in the jeans.

    My buddy did one heck of a dance trying to shake that snake loose.

  11. Woof says:

    You just gotta love people. They go to a nature preserve and then complain about the natural creatures that live there! Snakes in a nature preserve – D’oh!

  12. Tim says:

    We have snakes in California too. Most of ours have two legs.

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