Fannin Co. Animal Control: Snake population is higher this summer

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FANNIN COUNTY, Texas -- Animal control officials in Fannin County say they've been responding to more snake calls than usual. And the Bonham Fire Department has already responded to 4 snake-bite incidents this summer.

Bonham Animal Control Officer Jimmy Gilbert says during a normal summer, he responds to roughly one snake call per week, "Most of the calls that I get, people are calling saying they have a copperhead."

And while he says it usually turns out to be a "chicken" or "rat" snake, he's been answering twice as many snake calls this summer.

"I think it's the heat. The dryness and stuff, that's what I think is bringing the snakes out," said Gilbert.

While Bonham State Park Ranger Scott Hazelwood says he thinks more snakes are out because more prey is out this year, "If it's so, it's probably because there's an abundance of food source for them, they're cyclic just like any other wildlife. If there's food, then obviously there'll be more and more reptiles around too."

Bonham Fire Chief Brad Nichols says his department has responded to four snake bite incidents this summer, "It's not uncommon to have four or five during a summer for our population to respond to, but then again it's not uncommon to have none or one," he told News 12.

Hazlewood says there are three poisonous snakes in this area, cotton mouths, found near water, copperheads, and rattle snakes, typically found near wood piles.

"When you're out there where they are, just be cautious and look, be slow moving and look around. They're not an aggressive snake. They don't come looking for you," said Hazlewood.

And if you do get bitten, try to identify the snake, and call 911.

"Everybody sees in TV or movies where the old cowboy would cut it open or suck out the poison, that's the last thing you should do. Never do that," said Chief Nichols.

He also says once you call 911, remove any jewelry near the bite as it will swell.

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