We’re proud of our snakes at the Houston Zoo. Texas boasts more species of snake than any other state. Taxonomy is a very dynamic discipline but there are approximately 76 species of snakes in Texas, and that’s not counting subspecies (that is somewhere around 113). Out of all of those species, only four are venomous.
With harmless non-venomous snakes outnumbering the venomous snakes, odds are if you see a snake it’s not dangerous. The best thing to do if you see one is nothing; if you leave it alone it will leave you alone. Most bites occur when someone is trying to kill or capture a snake and in those cases the snake is merely trying to defend itself; you can’t blame anything for that right?
In this series of blogs, we will look at some of the more common species that occur in and around Houston. We keep most of these on exhibit here at the Zoo so if you want to see one up close through some nice safe glass, this is the place to come. If you see one of us in the Reptile/Amphibian House feel free to stop us for questions. We’re always happy to talk to folks about our animals.
If you are really interested, there are some great field guides to be had. One good one is Texas Snakes: A Field Guide by John E. Werler and James R. Dixon. John Werler was the director of the Houston Zoo for many years and a great guy who loved snakes.
So come back right here each week to read the whole Snake Series. We’ll cover a variety of interesting snakes, providing lots of great information and some really great pictures too.
Written by Judith Bryja, Herpetology Department Supervisor