Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 11, 2012

It's Cooperhead season in Texas

Welch — JACKSONVILLE, Texas — No one needs to tell Ricky Little that it’s copperhead season in Texas.

He said he kills several snakes every summer night.

Little said he’s usually armed with a sharp-pointed shovel and a spotlight.

During the four warm-weather summer months in 2011, he killed 67 copperheads, he said. The snakes measured between 14 and 25 inches each.

Andy Gluesenkamp, state herpetologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said the slithery creatures are looking for food, cover, water and sometimes a mate.

“The best advice I can give is to have good yard hygiene,” he said. “By yard hygiene I mean keeping lawns mowed, clean any brush piles — anything that would provide shelter for reptiles, amphibians or small animals to hang around in.”

Piles of debris, especially in ditches along roadways, should be viewed with suspicion. “Trash and limbs are a haven for Copperheads,” Commissioner Katherine Pinotti said. “We work hard to keep ditches clean and remove dead limbs because of that.”

Gluesenkamp warned that looking for Copperheads is an easy way to get bit by the venomous reptile, he said.

“(People normally get bit) on the foot or the hand,” he said. “It's hard to get bit on the hand when you’re not messing with them.”

A Copperhead's bite is rarely fatal, though.

“For treatment, seek immediate attention,” Gluesenkamp said. “Don't use tourniquets or Whiskey, just go straight to the hospital and people tend to do just fine.”

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Details for this story were provided by the Jacksonville (Texas) Daily Progress.

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