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STATE

Are there rattlesnakes on Texas beaches? Yes, and here's what to do if you see one

Marley Malenfant
Austin American-Statesman

Planning on hanging out at one of Texas’ beaches Memorial Day weekend? Some reptiles have the same idea. 

According to the , rattlesnakes are chilling at the beach too. 

Why are there rattlesnakes on Texas beaches?

With heavy rain and warmer temperatures in Texas recently, this can be a breeding ground for snakes, according to TPWD. Sand dunes are adaptable for rattlesnakes, and protection from humans. 

“The occurrence of snakes in sand dunes and along the beach is not out of the ordinary or an anomaly to snake behavior or habitat,” Dz.

What Texas beaches can rattlesnakes be seen? 

Here are some beaches where people could encounter snakes during Memorial Day Weekend. 

  • Galveston beach 
  • Rockport beach 
  • Port Aransas beach 
  • South Padre Island
  • San Jose Island 
  • Mustang Island 

According to KVUE, inland regions such as Austin encounter their fair share of snake bites. In Travis County alone, Austin-Travis County EMS transported 18 patients suffering from venomous snake bites to hospitals within a recent 12-month span.

What to do if you see a rattlesnake

The TPWD suggests not approaching or attempting to kill rattlesnakes if they are encountered on the beach. The department noted that snakes do not prey on humans or chase them. Most snake bites occur due to people taking unnecessary or reckless risks with venomous snakes.

It's crucial to remain still when snakes are in the vicinity until you can determine their location. Give the snake space to withdraw. If movement is necessary, slowly and cautiously step backward away from the snake.

What to do if a rattlesnake bites you?

  • Stay calm: Panicking can increase your heart rate and spread the venom more quickly.
  • Call for help: Call 911 immediately. Time is of the essence.
  • Immobilize the bite area: Keep the bitten area immobilized and positioned at or slightly below the level of your heart. This can help slow the spread of venom.
  • Remove jewelry and tight clothing: Remove jewelry or tight clothing near the bite site. Swelling can occur rapidly and these items may constrict blood flow.
  • Do not apply ice or tourniquets: Contrary to popular belief, applying ice or using a tourniquet can actually worsen the effects of a venomous snake bite by slowing blood flow.
  • Do not attempt to suck out venom: This is not effective and can cause further damage to the wound.
  • Go to a hospital or urgent care: If possible, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital or medical facility equipped to handle snake bites. If an ambulance is available, it may be best to wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive.