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Springtime Weather Sends Snakes Slithering Around Texas

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A venomous rattlesnake tastes the air. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

A venomous rattlesnake tastes the air. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – With warm temperatures and upcoming spring rainfall, experts say it’s getting that time of year when snakes are on the prowl.

With the cold winter weather ending in Texas, many snakes will become more active and start venturing out looking for their ‘prey items’ around the yard including rats, mice, other smaller snakes and cockroaches.

“The thing to remember about snakes is that generally, they want to be left alone. They are probably more afraid of you,” says snake expert Jill Heatley, Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University.

Texas is home to four basic types of venomous snakes: Coral snake (most potent), Copperhead, Western Diamondback rattlesnake and Cottonmouth (also called Water Moccasin), and the state is a slithering paradise for all of them.

Heatley says outside pets can easily fall victim to snakebite. Dog usually suffers the bite on its face or nose, while cats tend to be nicked on their paws.

“I spoke with one of our emergency room doctors the other day and said to be sure and tell pet owners that dogs and cats are likely to encounter snakes this time of year,” she says. “If you believe your pet has been bitten, you need to seek veterinary care and the doctor can determine what kind of treatment is necessary.”

She says a snakebite on a human can be painful and dangerous – but very expensive.

“Besides the venom snakes can carry microbes in their mouths, that if a person is bitten, can cause bad infections as well.” says Heatley.

It is not uncommon for a person bitten by a venomous snake to have medical bills of $50,000 or more because of hospitalization, which can run from one day to several weeks, treatments on damaged tissues, plus antivenin treatments that can run into the thousands of dollars, she adds.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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