By Robbie Owens

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

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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.”

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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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