Slithering Through Central Texas: A Guide to the Most Common Snakes and How to Keep Your Pets Safe

The Lone Star State is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including a variety of slithering, hissing, and sometimes venomous reptiles. Yes, we're talking about snakes. While these creatures can be fascinating, they can also pose a threat to our beloved pets. But don't worry, we've got you covered. This guide will help you identify the most common snakes in Central Texas and provide tips on how to keep your pets safe.

The Most Common Snakes in Central Texas

Central Texas is a hotbed for snake diversity, with over 76 species slithering around. However, we'll focus on the most common ones that you're likely to encounter in your backyard or during your nature walks.

Let's dive in and get to know these legless neighbors a little better.

1. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is one of the most common venomous snakes in Central Texas. It's easily identifiable by the diamond-shaped patterns on its back and the distinctive rattle at the end of its tail. Remember, if you hear a rattle, it's time to back away slowly.

This snake prefers dry, rocky areas and is most active at night. So, if you're out for a midnight stroll, be sure to bring a flashlight and watch your step.

2. Texas Rat Snake

Don't let the name fool you; the Texas Rat Snake isn't just interested in rats. This non-venomous snake will happily snack on birds, frogs, and even small mammals. It's one of the largest snakes in Texas, reaching up to seven feet in length.

These snakes are excellent climbers and are often found in trees or rooftops. So, if you spot a long, slender snake above your head, it's probably a Texas Rat Snake.

3. Texas Coral Snake

The Texas Coral Snake is a small but venomous snake. It's brightly colored with red, yellow, and black bands. Remember the rhyme, "Red touch yellow, kill a fellow. Red touch black, venom lack." This will help you distinguish it from the harmless Scarlet Kingsnake.

These snakes are shy and tend to hide in leaf litter or under logs. However, if threatened, they won't hesitate to bite.

How to Keep Your Pets Safe

Now that we've met some of the common snakes in Central Texas, let's discuss how to keep our furry friends safe. After all, curiosity didn't just kill the cat; it also led the dog to a snakebite.

Here are some tips to help prevent your pets from becoming a snakebite statistic.

1. Keep Your Yard Clean

Snakes love hiding in clutter. By keeping your yard clean and free of debris, you'll eliminate potential hiding spots for snakes. This includes keeping grass short, removing piles of wood, and sealing any holes around your property.

Remember, a clean yard is a less snake-friendly yard.

2. Supervise Your Pets

Never leave your pets unsupervised in snake-prone areas. Always keep an eye on them while they're outside, especially during the warmer months when snakes are more active.

If possible, keep your pets on a leash during walks in nature. This will prevent them from sticking their noses where they don't belong - like in a snake's face.

3. Snake-Proof Your Fence

Consider installing a snake-proof fence around your yard. This can be as simple as a solid fence that extends into the ground or as complex as a mesh fence specifically designed to keep snakes out.

While no fence is 100% snake-proof, it can significantly reduce the chances of a snake slithering into your yard.


Here are some frequently asked questions about snakes in Central Texas.

1. What should I do if I see a snake?

Stay calm and keep your distance. Most snakes are more scared of you than you are of them. If the snake is in your yard, call a professional to remove it.

2. What should I do if my pet is bitten by a snake?

Seek immediate veterinary care. Try to identify the snake, but do not attempt to capture it. The faster your pet receives treatment, the better their chances of survival.

3. Are all snakes in Texas venomous?

No, not all snakes in Texas are venomous. In fact, most are harmless and play a crucial role in the ecosystem by controlling rodent populations.


Living in Central Texas means sharing our space with a variety of snakes. While they can be intimidating, understanding these creatures and taking precautions can help keep our pets safe. Remember, the best way to avoid snake encounters is to respect their space and leave them alone.

So, the next time you see a snake slithering through your yard, don't panic. Instead, appreciate the diversity of wildlife that makes Central Texas unique. And maybe take a moment to thank that snake for keeping the rat population in check.

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