Archive for the 'venomous snakes' Category

Texas Outdoor Story – The Squirrel and the Snake

Friday, September 22nd, 2017
Paddling Ladybird Lake.

Paddling Ladybird Lake. Image: Texas River School

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Ginger Turner enjoys paddling on Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Over the years, she says she’s witnessed her share of unusual incidents on the water.

The one that was really funny and sticks out in my head. My friend and I were paddling and we saw something swimming and we couldn’t figure out what it was. We get over there and it’s a squirrel swimming over one of the widest parts of the lake. We’re like, “let’s get closer; get closer.” So we follow him over and he ran up this tree that was leaning over in the water. As he was running up he ran smack dab into a snake that was curled up sunning on the tree. And it startled the squirrel, and it startled the snake and they both jumped about 10 ft. up in the air! And the snake plopped in the water and the squirrel we couldn’t even find. Later we heard a rustling and we saw the squirrel had made it over to the shore. But it was hilarious, it was funny. But I didn’t know that squirrels swam, but I guess they do. [laughs]

Thanks, Ginger. You never know what you might see when you get outside.

Do you have a funny or memorable Texas outdoor story to share? Go to passporttotexas.org, and let us know. We love to hear what you do outside!

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Step Softly and Look Out for Diamondbacks

Friday, April 21st, 2017
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

This is Passport to Texas

Now that spring is in full swing, you’ll spend more time outdoors. When you do, my advice is to literally watch your step.

Probably most people who spend any amount of time hiking in Texas have been within arm’s reach of a diamondback and never knew it.

Andy Gluesenkamp is a herpetologist [and Director of Conservation at the San Antonio Zoo]. Don’t let what he just said about the big, scary venomous Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, which happens to be deadliest snake in North America, keep you locked up indoors.

Diamondbacks would by and large much prefer to avoid contact than get in some sort of fisticuffs with a large animal like a human.

These snakes play defense. They usually hang out in the vicinity of fallen logs, brush piles, and rocks. If they think you don’t see them, they’ll lie perfectly still and let you do a Dionne Warwick and walk on by.

If they feel threatened by you, the first thing that they’ll do is buzz that rattle. On rare occasions when somebody reaches their hands into a crevice, or is picking up firewood and grabs a snake or steps on a snake—then they’re going to react violently. And that’s when people tend to get bitten.

So, avoid doing what he said. You’ll be glad you did, or rather, didn’t. Find more information about snakes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website.

Support for Passport to Texas comes from the Wildlife Restoration program…working to restore native habitat in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

How Venomous Snakes Help Humans

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
Venomous Snake.

Extracting venom at the John C. Perez Serpentarium at Texas A&M- Kingsville, TX

This is Passport to Texas

The National Natural Toxins Research Center in Kingsville, part of the Texas A & M system, houses 450 venomous snakes from around the world in its Serpentarium, from which they collect venom for research.

This center really is sort of a hidden gem in the A & M System, and in the state. It’s doing great work; it’s something that Texans should be proud of.

Reeve Hamilton works for the A & M System. Researchers at the lab do their own research, such as work on a universal anti-venom; they also share venom with fellow researchers worldwide.

Other researchers elsewhere will get in touch with them and say we really need this for our research, can you get it to us? And they’ll freeze it and ship it off. They’re doing their own research, but they’re also enabling the research of others.

Pharmaceuticals to treat heart attacks, strokes, and to prevent the metastasizing of tumors have come from venom research. Reeve Hamilton hopes that by understanding how venomous snakes help humans…

You know, you come across a snake, maybe you might change your appreciation of the animals a little bit.

Read about the Natural Toxins Research Center in the April issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti