Rarely Seen Snake Spotted Slithering on Texas Hiking Trail

by Amy Myers

Unlike other venomous snakes like rattlers or copperheads, the coral snake is pretty easy to spot, even on a leaf-covered hiking trail. Its distinct black, yellow and red coloring acts as a huge warning sign to surrounding predators and prey, but despite this, not many people come across coral snakes.

That’s why when a Texas news station employee and his wife spotted this snake while hiking on the West Loop Trail at Lost Maples State Park, they had to snap a photo – after they cautiously backed away.

According to Jessica Alderson, an urban biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, coral snakes are actually quite rare to spot. Unlike more combative serpents, the coral snake tends to be fairly shy and nonconfrontational. So, encounters on hiking trails aren’t a frequent occurrence.

And really, most snakes tend to stay out of people’s way when given some personal space. In fact, most snake-related trips to the hospital result from a human approaching the animal first.

“The majority of snakes bites result from people taking unnecessary risks with snakes like trying to capture or kill a snake,” Alderson said. “When left alone, snakes present little or no danger to people.”

Not to mention, snakes serve a valuable purpose, helping to maintain pest and rodent populations in wooded and suburban regions.

“Snakes are valuable to our ecosystem; they serve as a natural form of pest control,” Alderson added.

TPDW Explains Why Venomous Snake Doesn’t Like to Bite

Texas has a total of four native venomous snakes, including cottonmouths, rattlers, copperheads and corals. While the former three are part of the pit viper family, the coral snake falls under the cobra category. That means they have short and small fangs. Therefore, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), they don’t choose to bite unless totally necessary.

That said, they are still a venomous breed, so when cornered or threatened, they can inflict a fatal bite. If you come across this snake while hiking, it’s best to give it a wide berth.

In general, snakes tend to be more active during the spring which is also their mating season. So, to help keep Texans from any surprise encounters, they listed a few tips for snake awareness, even when you’re not hiking.

  • Keep the lawn around your home trimmed low.
  • Remove any brush, wood, rock or debris piles from around your home. These make great hiding places for snakes and their prey.
  • Remove food sources that attract rodents, such as bird feeders and pet food.
  • Always wear shoes while outside and never put your hands in places where you cannot see them.
  • Wear gloves when working in the garden and be cautious as you clean up debris, lift rocks, pull weeds or root around areas that snakes could hide in.