Officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said Copperhead snakes are most common during the spring and summer. Good yard hygiene can lessen the reptiles activity. Photo courtesy of c 2009 Earl Nottingham, TX

Copperhead snakes have been slithering through the grass of Cherokee County and officials said yard hygiene can  help prevent the reptiles from getting too close.

Andy Gluesenkamp, state herpetologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said an increase in snake activity occur during the spring and summer.

“With a lot of insects … often times there are a large flush of prey items and as a result you see a concentration of snakes,” he said

Ricky Little, a Lakewood Community resident, said he kills an average of four Copperheads per night.

“I go on a snake hunt once a night,” he said. “I walk outside with a sharp-pointed shovel and with a spotlight.”

Little said the snakes are anywhere between 14 and 25 inches in length. He said from June to September of 2011, he killed a total of 67 Copperheads.

“I've done everything,” he said. “I even buy stuff off the internet. I've burned them on the borderline of my yard, but that didn't stop them either.”

Gluesenkamp said there are several factors that can lure snakes into a resident's yard.

“Anytime a snake comes into someone's yard there are looking for food, shelter, water or sometimes mates,” he said.

Gluesenkamp said although it might be a little late for mating season, some female snakes are reproducing which will attract male snakes to look for them.

“The best advice I can give is to have good yard hygiene,” he said. “By yard hygiene I mean keeping lawns mowed, clean any brush piles — anything that would provide shelter for reptiles, amphibians or small animals to hang around in.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti said she encourages residents to call their precinct commissioner when limbs are seen on roadsides.

“Trash and limbs are a haven for Copperheads,” she said. “We work hard to keep ditches clean and remove dead limbs because of that.”

Little said during the record breaking drought in 2011, he was watering his lawn everyday. He said now that there's been consistent rain, he's watered less and hopes it will slow the attraction.

“Watered lawns do attract other small animals,” Gluesenkamp said. “Copperheads are just another type of wildlife and although most people prefer not to encounter one, that goes hand in hand with food and water.”

Gluesenkamp said looking for Copperheads is an easy way to get bit by the venomous reptile.

“(People normally get bit) on the foot or the hand,” he said. “It's hard to get bit on the hand when your not messing with them.”

Gluesenkamp said a Copperhead's bite is rarely fatal.

“For treatment, seek immediate attention,” he said. “Don't use tourniquets or Whiskey, just go straight to the hospital and people tend to do just fine.”

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