GALVESTON, Texas -- It’s that time of year again: rattlesnake season in Galveston.
The reptiles are once again making an appearance on the island. Beachgoers are warned not to trek through the dunes.
The rattlesnakes will start to emerge from their daytime hiding spots as the sun starts setting. Only one person was bitten by a rattlesnake last year, but nonetheless, it pays to be cautious.
“With a rattlesnake, he bites you, he’s got to pump those jaws. I got hit once in my leg with those jaws and that when he’s injecting,” said Hal Newsom with Animal Control Wildlife.
Newsom has been wrangling rattlesnakes since he was a kid. The varmint trapper says he’s responded to at least 22 rattlesnake calls on Galveston Island in the last three days.
Newsom says since it’s rattlesnake mating season, and the weather’s getting warmer, the snakes are showing themselves to beachgoers as they pass through the dunes.
Contrary to popular belief, you’re more likely to run into rattlesnakes either at dawn or dusk when the snakes are looking for a spot to cool off.
That’s when Newsom says people are at the greatest risk.
“They can feel vibrations, they can’t hear, they got no ears. But when he feels vibrations and gets nervous, that tail starts to shake,” Newsom said.
Galveston Island State Park supervisor Hans Haglund says it’s nature’s way of warning us to slowly back away.
“They’re not out there to get us. They’re there to let us know if we don’t mess with it, it won’t mess with us, kind of deal,” Haglund said.
Experts say if you happen to get bitten by a rattlesnake at the beach, stay calm and call 911. Don’t try to use a tourniquet or suck out the poison; just get to the hospital as quickly as possible.