MANOR, Texas -- Jonathan Grotz sees plenty of animals in his backyard.
“I’ve seen rabbits, I’ve seen lizards, there's geckos at night,” Grotz said, saying spotting an animal isn’t too shocking. “It was surprising that it was a rattlesnake though.”
He said he found his dogs playing with a snakeskin on Sunday morning.
“So I checked in the fire pit, and sure enough, under one of the cement blocks there was a rattlesnake sitting under there, wedged in between the rocks,” Grotz said.
Grotz said he didn’t want to take any chances with his one-year-old and dogs, so he killed the snake.
“I don't want it to feel like this isn't a safe place, even though we kind of have a high-risk yard,” Grotz said. “We've got fire wood over here. We've got a fire pit. We've got bushes around, the grass was tall before I found him, so I'm sure that was kind of a welcoming environment.”
Welcoming is exactly how Paul Crump, a herpetologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, would describe Grotz's yard.
Crump said the best way to stay snake-free is to keep things cleaned up.
“Keeping a tidy yard is the most effective way to do it,” Crump said. “Snakes are attracted to shelter and food.”
Crump also said the likelihood of finding a venomous snake is slim.
“There are 80 different snakes in Texas,” Crump said, explaining only ten of those are venomous. “If you find a snake shed, ten to one chance that it's a non-venomous snake, just based on plucking a snake at random.”
Crump encouraged people to look into what venomous snakes look like and reminded people to stay calm if they do encounter one.