#InTheWildHood - Snake Edition

People either love snakes or fear them. Whether you stoop down for a closer look or back away, snakes evoke a primal response.

© Loren L. | #InTheWildHood

Roughly 115 snake species and subspecies call Texas home, more than any other state in the country. Some, like the indigo and Louisiana pine, are threatened species. Most, like the hognose or the rat snake, may look frightening but are completely harmless and absolutely beneficial to our ecosystems. 

In Texas we have only four varieties of venomous snake — the marvelously camouflaged copperhead, the hefty rattlesnake, the water loving cottonmouth, and the colorful coral snake. Yet even these, specifically their venom, have beneficial use in medical research.

© Denise R. | #InTheWildHood  

Snakes experience many of the same threats as other wildlife — habitat loss, disease and natural disasters, for example — but perhaps the biggest threat they face is that they are so often viewed through a negative lens. July 16 is World Snake Day, a day to celebrate the snake and spread a positive message to change attitudes and encourage their conservation. 

© Adrian M. | #InTheWildHood

Certainly it makes sense to be cautious when you see a snake in your yard, shed or garage. But you don't have to immediately run for a weapon. Odds are the snake you found is harmless and doing it's best to help you by keeping down pest populations around your home. Instead, like these photographers in our In The Wild Hood summer photo contestpick up your camera or camera phone and snap a picture. Entering the contest is quick and easy.

Take a picture. Save a snake. Change the narrative. What better way to observe World Snake Day?

© Ashley B. | #InTheWildHood 

For more great content on Texas wildlife, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.  For a limited time enjoy three months of digital access to 600+ articles and our expanded 2020 Summer issue - all for only $1.99!


Mammal Monday - Texas Cat

Our In The Wild Hood summer photo contest is in full swing, and some of the most intriguing submissions have featured larger mammals with which we share our urban and suburban spaces. To highlight some of these intriguing creatures we are launching Mammal Mondays on the blog! Each Monday we will pick a specific species and use photos curated from contest submissions, and content written by editorial intern Landry Allred. 

It's not to late to get in your photos! Enter In the Wild Hood and your photo may appear in a future Mammal Monday post!

© F. McGlinn | #InTheWildHood  

They are the most common wild cat in Texas. They are mascots for high schools and colleges. They are a feline both feared and admired.

Bobcats are found throughout the U.S. and are particularly abundant in Texas. Texas has two subspecies — the desert bobcat in the west and northwest and the Texas bobcat whose scope reaches across the state. These felines, about twice the size of a household cat, have been around for almost 1.8 million years and are named for their short tail.

Humans may see bobcats as a threat, but bobcat attacks are practically nonexistent. A bobcat’s diet consists mostly of rodents, rabbits, squirrels, birds and other small animals. Household pets are not their main meals, but of course, it can still happen. Bobcats are quite secretive and shy, and they are easily spooked by humans. The only time a bobcat would aggressively approach a human is if it has rabies or is cornered into self-defense.

© covebirder | #InTheWildHood  

Bobcats are extremely intelligent and have adapted to cities. They can survive in a variety of environments, such as swamps, deserts, forests, grasslands, mountain ranges and even on the outskirts of suburban neighborhoods. They are mainly active at night to avoid humans, and they rarely make their presence known. A study of bobcats in the Dallas-Fort Worth area found them to be living mainly along creeks, floodplains and parks.

Bobcats are out there, but you may not know it. Sometimes, the only way people can tell if a bobcat has been in the area is if there are scratches on the trees from their claws.

To learn more about native Texas wildlife, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.  For a limited time enjoy three months of digital access to 600+ articles and our expanded 2020 Summer issue - all for only $1.99!