by Mario Villarino
During severe days of rain, the accumulation of water in the ground creates a problem to native and non-native plants and animals in our county. Because a high percentage (depending on the size of the component of the soil) of the soil is air, when air gets displaced by water plants can get water logged and animal dens can get flooded too.
A common unwanted visitor to higher areas of you properties can be snakes among others. We at the Hopkins County Extension Office have received several calls of residents needing to displace or identify snakes found around homes and barns. It is important to be cautions when approaching snakes, since even non-toxic species can be aggressive and inflict damage due to bites. Their damage is more severe in venomous snakes and potentially fatal. Do not let children neither pets wonder near wood stacks nor buildings before checking for snakes. Depending of the type of snake, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension recommends using rodent control glue boards since those are effective for catching snakes that have taken up residence inside a building. The glue board is coated with a sticky substance on one side; this causes the snake to become stuck as it attempts to cross the board. Several rodent glue traps can be attached to a plywood board approximately 24 inches by 16 inches. The trap should then be placed near the wall where snakes travel. Captured snakes can be released or destroyed (if legal). Glue boards are available at feed stores, hardware stores and/or grocery stores. Funnel traps also can be effective in capturing snakes. A funnel trap can be constructed by rolling a 3-foot by 4-foot piece of ¼-inch hardware cloth into a cylinder about 1 foot in diameter and 4 feet long. An entrance funnel is of the cylinder. The other end of the cylinder is closed with hardware cloth. The trap can then be placed next to a fence or building where snakes are likely to crawl. There are currently no toxicants or fumigants registered for the control of snakes.
Registered commercial repellents are available for some species of snakes and should be used according to the label. Where legal, snakes can be shot using either a rifle or shotgun. Since most of the snakes found in Texas are non-poisonous and cause little damage, they should not be indiscriminately killed. It is sometimes possible to remove snakes from a house or other building by placing piles of damp burlap bags in areas where the snakes have been seen or are likely to be. Snakes are attracted to damp, cool, dark places such as the burlap bags. The bags should be checked every few days for captured snakes. In rural areas, snake populations can be reduced by means of an organized den hunt. Hunts usually are held in early spring when snakes are about to emerge or have just emerged from their dens. Fall hunting can be conducted when snakes are gathering to hibernate. Many snakes in Texas are protected by state law, and indiscriminate killing or any other control is illegal. Before using any snake control measures or relocating captured snakes to another area, contact local representatives of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. For additional information contact the nearest office of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service–Wildlife Services.
Coming Up: A great opportunity for residents interested in learning basic skills in beef managements is scheduled for June 22, 2016 at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center starting at noon. The Beef Quality Assurance Training organized in collaboration of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services, Texas Beef Council, Beef Check Off Program, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and NETBIO will serve a steak lunch and provide basic information in food safety, cattle and beef quality, environmental stewardship , animal handling and well being, proper injection techniques, vaccination and drug residue avoidance. Interested participants must RSVP by calling TSCRA at 800-242-7820 or the Hopkins County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 903-885-3443. There is no cost for the training for registration is needed to secure the meal.