HOUSTON — Your chances of running into a snake increases five to six days after heavy rain.
Dr. Spencer Greene, a board-certified toxicologist in Houston, explained the risk rises because snakes are on the move back to their normal habitats while humans resume work outdoors.
Rattlesnakes, experts say, are one of six types of venomous snakes in the Houston area.
Greene treated one man at Ben Taub Hospital just two weeks ago. The man, who was working in his garden, was bitten on his foot by a canebrake rattlesnake.
Greene says, in spite of what some might think, adult snakes are more venomous than juveniles.
“So typically after a heavy rainstorm, after flooding, usually, after a few days, once the flood waters begin to recede and the snakes go from where ever they were hiding out back toward their normal places, and at the same time the humans are coming out, that’s when I see the interactions,” said Greene. “Usually like five to six days after a flood. That’s when I start seeing an increase in snake bites.”
Greene suggests people who’ve been bitten by a snake drive to Ben Taub Hospital or Texas Children’s Hospital, where he works.
He treats about 40 snake bites a year. Most happen between April and September. Some, he says, have happened inside the 610 Loop, an area most would consider urban.
He’s seen patients come in with either copperhead or coral snake bites.
Greene says most hospitals carry anti-venom which is all that’s needed to treat a snake bite. Rarely do patients require surgery and they never require antibiotics or steroids to treat the area.