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Somebody mentioned in a thread I was just perusing that they encountered a snake, which got me thinking about my own experience here in Austin. Surprisingly, in almost 20 years of riding Austin area trails I’ve encountered only one (1) snake. Even more surprising, it was a coral snake. A surprisingly BIG coral snake. And yes, it was the real deal - red on yellow. Encountered him (her?) on the BCGB below Toys-R-Us many years ago.

 

What’s your Austin area snake encounter count?

 

 

 

 

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I've most often seen snakes on night rides. Coral, Copperhead, Hognose, Moccasin, and various green and striped flavors in the daylight on occasion. Rarely more than two or three a year.

We also have one on the payroll at home doing pest control that lives in the yard and under the house. A rat snake the missus calls Jelly Roll.

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I also have hardly EVER seen any snakes in all these years of riding and trail building. A suprisingly low number. Especially with all the trail building I expected to run into some. 

 

But the few I have encountered have always been non-venomous.

 

i personally like snakes though. I have an 8ft carpet python 🐍 at home. Her name is Sheila. She is ultra tame and super nice. Has been a great pet. 

 

This first picture is from like 4 years ago. She’s probably doubled in size since that picture 

FFA21BA1-1EC1-49A9-AC38-08E1A0A7E547.jpeg

Edited by Seths Pool
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I jumped over a snake while running a trail near Whirlpool Cave early one morning. I didn't even register the snake, but jumped instinctively. I walked back and saw it was a big ol fat one. I tossed a rock at it and it coiled up and rattled at me. 

Saw a rattler tail on a mid-day ride in Circle C. It was leaving the trail so I stopped and waited a while to be sure it was a ways into the grass before passing.

I've seen coral snakes on two occasions near Dick Nichols and in Circle C.

I lived near Atlanta, GA a few years and snake sightings were far more common.

Related- riding Firehouse in SATN this week, I was separated from my Tuesday night group and kept hearing sounds behind me. No other riders nearby, just rustling in the trees behind me like a large animal moving around. Really spooked me. I started imagining ways to fight off a large cat with my bike.

Edited by mack_turtle

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In just under two years of Austin Riding, I've seen a snake 3x. 2 on Night/ Evening rides, 1 on a Dawn Patrol ride. All non-venomous. 2 were diamondback water snakes and the other was a plain bellied water snake.

I've seen 3-4 others in my yard but only one of note (Ratnsake) most of the others were Texas blind snakes.

How many times they seen me? No Idea.... Believe me I am looking. 

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21 minutes ago, RedRider3141 said:

In just under two years of Austin Riding, I've seen a snake 3x. 2 on Night/ Evening rides, 1 on a Dawn Patrol ride. All non-venomous. 2 were diamondback water snakes and the other was a plain bellied water snake.

I've seen 3-4 others in my yard but only one of note (Ratnsake) most of the others were Texas blind snakes.

How many times they seen me? No Idea.... Believe me I am looking. 

Damn you really know your snakes! I've seen plenty on the trails around here but would never be able to tell you what they are, except for the rattler at Steiner that was making a lot of noise. This snake in the pic was moving across the trail very slowly in front of me on Deception at Brushy. No idea what it was, but it was probably around 5ft in length. This was in May of 2016, mid-afternoon. Hard to see, but the snake's head is almost at the very edge of the pic on the right.

IMAG2107 (2017_07_18 13_09_01 UTC).jpg

Edited by throet

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I saw an cool yellow rat snake at Lake Georgetown last weekend.  I've seen a a rattlesnake out there and at the Greenbelt.  I bunny hopped a water snake at Walnut once when I saw the root I was about to hit started to move.  Thinking about it, I've seen way more non-venomous snakes than anything that could possibly hurt me.  They all wanted nothing to do with me and took off as soon as possible.  Snakes are cool.  I much prefer them to rats and without one, you're going to have the other.

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35 minutes ago, throet said:

Damn you really know your snakes! I've seen plenty on the trails around here but would never be able to tell you what they are, except for the rattler at Steiner that was making a lot of noise. This snake in the pic was moving across the trail very slowly in front of me on Deception at Brushy. No idea what it was, but it was probably around 5ft in length. This was in May of 2016, mid-afternoon. Hard to see, but the snake's head is almost at the very edge of the pic on the right.

IMAG2107 (2017_07_18 13_09_01 UTC).jpg

That is a Rat Snake. 

I feel like I can confidently ID 4-5 species but I submit a lot of the pictures I take to the "Southwest Texas Snake ID" FB group. Herp experts ID them for you. This is how I've been learning. Snakes give me the heebie jeebies but I like being outside too much to let them keep me inside. Education has been great.

There are many species in our region but based on the sightings and IDs in that group seems like 90% of them are one of the following

Non-Venomous

  1. Dekays
  2. Rat Snake
  3. Plain Bellied Water Snake
  4. Diamondback Water Snake
  5. Broadband Water Snake

Venomous:

  1. Cotton Mouth/ Water Moccasin
  2. Copperhead 
  3. Western Diamondback (Rattlesnake) (I look for mittens every time I ride Brushy.)
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I was just discussing this over the weekend while doing some trail work here in the hood.  This is #3 of 4 rattlers I have seen on the trail- by far the biggest snake I have ever seen in the wild- that snake gave ZERO Fs about me.  Craziest sighting was a buddy and I stopped to rest and I looked behind him to see a copperhead maybe ~18" from his head on a boulder, most recent was two weeks ago I saw a 3' Garter Snake (Yellow stripped one) across the trail in an uphill little climb.  I had just got off the phone ~30 seconds before and said these words- "Its snake season right now, hope I dont see one"

I ran over a poor hognose a year or so back scared the hell out me, went back and moved it off the trail.

 

IMG_1185.thumb.JPG.490901c03d990ca2b32012aa23fca2ed.JPG

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I've come across several rat snakes on the Brushy path in the evenings and of course Mittens on 1/4 notch the summer before last.

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I have never seen a venomous snake at Pace Bend.   After a few years of digging/riding the dirt out there, I found that odd.  I asked park staff, and they said the isolation of the peninsula probably accounted for that and they don't ever hear reports.  At my property, just minutes away, I have been bitten by a copperhead (as a kid, running through mowed grass between tall grass), seen coral snakes and rattlesnakes.  I've done mortal combat with rat snakes and raccoons INSIDE our chicken coop.

I joined a facebook group called Central Texas Snake ID and it's very informative.  I know and respect that snakes play a vital role in our environment and I don't kill them unless they threaten me, my family, or our animals.  I did dispatch a coral snake that was hanging around our baby goat pen a few years back.  I won't handle venomous snakes, but I now know some people that are quite happy to relocate them.  

As far as seeing them on a trail, the most snake encounters I have had is in this order: RPR, FCCR, Reimers, Mt. Lakeway (et. al), LGT, BCGB.  That order is probably skewed by my frequency and propensity to dig in the dirt.

(The raccoon combat deserves it's own thread with a mini-series to describe the 1/2 hour ordeal.)

Edited by spicewookie
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I have only ever seen snakes at the BCGB. Rattler 2 times on of which I jumped over him after barreling around a blind corner near the quarry. I wound up falling as a result and have never gotten up from a front wheel washout so quickly in my life. The other sighting was mundane and just passed a rattler warming up on a rock. The rest of the list includes 2 rat snakes and what looked like a coral snake, but I admit I did not pay it enough mind to check which colors were touching.

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56 minutes ago, Taco Man said:

I was just discussing this over the weekend while doing some trail work here in the hood.  This is #3 of 4 rattlers I have seen on the trail- by far the biggest snake I have ever seen in the wild- that snake gave ZERO Fs about me.  Craziest sighting was a buddy and I stopped to rest and I looked behind him to see a copperhead maybe ~18" from his head on a boulder, most recent was two weeks ago I saw a 3' Garter Snake (Yellow stripped one) across the trail in an uphill little climb.  I had just got off the phone ~30 seconds before and said these words- "Its snake season right now, hope I dont see one"

I ran over a poor hognose a year or so back scared the hell out me, went back and moved it off the trail.

 

IMG_1185.thumb.JPG.490901c03d990ca2b32012aa23fca2ed.JPG

 

Holy smokes, that's a big rattler!  😮

 

I always scour the area before plopping my butt down trail side.  My biggest fear is sitting on a dang scorpion!

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21 minutes ago, csmceuen said:

I have only ever seen snakes at the BCGB. Rattler 2 times on of which I jumped over him after barreling around a blind corner near the quarry. I wound up falling as a result and have never gotten up from a front wheel washout so quickly in my life. The other sighting was mundane and just passed a rattler warming up on a rock. The rest of the list includes 2 rat snakes and what looked like a coral snake, but I admit I did not pay it enough mind to check which colors were touching.

If it's red, yellow, and black in Central Texas it's MOST LIKELY a coral snake.  Scarlet King Snakes are the "red/black,  friend of Jack" and not native to this area (far east Texas is as far West as they go).  Black head is also the coral snake indicator.  This is all stuff I learned from Central Texas Snake ID.

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When summer comes and Barton Creek dries up, the last few puddles turn into snake hotspots. That's the extent of where I've seen snakes in ATX when riding. 

Houston is a different story. I used to see water moccasins all the time at Ant Hills and Memorial park.

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Seen Coral snakes multiple times on BCGB 3-4. Copper head on Thumper just to add insult. Western Diamond back on RPR (video) and two engaged in fight or mating not sure which on BCGB (second Vid). That was rather spectacular as they were wrapped around each other with their heads in the air about 4ft high, right in the middle of the trail. Video was after they finally noticed us and were leaving.

 

 

How do you post vids?

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In Austin I've seen numerous snakes, including a fat rat snake climbing a tree in the backyard one Thanksgiving. While biking, I've encountered maybe a dozen snakes over the past ~20 years. Mostly rat snakes, a few glossy snakes, one coral snake, one copperhead, and a fat, bright green snake at St. Ed's. I've come across one rattlesnake on the trails, a juvenile.

The snake at St. Ed's was coiled up next to the trail. I've never been able to identify it, because we generally don't have bright green snakes around here. It was a thick snake, like a cottonmouth in overall proportion, and bright green with no patterns. It was not the thin "rough green" or "smooth green" snakes that are here in central TX.

The most surprising encounter, where you feel your eyes hyperfocus on "it" while the hair stands up on your neck, was a gigantic water mocassin at Lick Creek park in College Station. I was walking my bike out of a particularly wet area, and my front wheel bumped over a log. I looked down, and the "log" was a snake stretched straight across the trail, sunning itself. The head was on the other side of the bike from me, but its body just came straight across the trail, between my wheels, and between my feet at that point. It was lethargic and no threat to me, but it was a surprise.

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I've seen more snakes already this year than I did last year, and last year was a record for me. For the last 3 weekends I have seen at least one snake everyday. I was out riding PP a couple of days ago and got to that newly re-done berm at the beginning of PP West side. Biggest Blotched I've ever seen laying right on the berm. I stopped to get a picture so I could show Ronan (Which I saw moments later working on the trail)  🙂 .

So far though this year I haven't seen anything venomous

I just keep thinking this will be the year one climbs into my Kayak while I'm fishing.

Anyway, it seems the more I see them, the more comfortable I am with knowing they are out there. I'm not a fan of snakes at all, but at this point, I can at least admire them...from a distance 🙂

 

 

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Eight years riding in CenTx and I've seen only a couple of really small (6-8" maybe) snakes on SATN trails. One larger one, maybe 2-3' up in Muleshoe. Can't tell you what type they were.

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For all my time living in Texas and screwing around out in the woods I don't seem to see many snakes. The ones I do see are usually coral snakes, hog nose, and rat snakes. Not many rattlers and I've never been lucky enough to spot a copperhead.

That said, I almost stepped on this little guy getting out of my car the other day. Trapped him in a bucket to have someone take him far away but my bucket was too small and he got away before the snake wrangler made it to me. Very chill lil snake even when I picked him up with a stirrup hoe. So he lives somewhere nearby now.

IMG_20190430_164428.thumb.jpg.3f296baa4b564980bcbecde7277007c5.jpg

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Fat Rattlers = Reimers 1, Bull Creek 1, Goodwater 1, SWCHB, 2

Coral = 2 in one round of disc Roy G, 

Others= Walnut 10

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I didn't know that "Mittens" actually had a name??  My interaction with him 4 yrs ago...

 

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In 20+ years of Austin:

1 rattler on the greenbelt on an appropriately named segment 

2 copperheads on a local private trail

more coral snakes than I can count on the GB

probably 1 water moccasin on the NWCT

plus 1 million rat snakes that made me scream like a little girl

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7 minutes ago, AustinBike said:

plus 1 million rat snakes that made me scream like a little girl

Just 2 Tuesdays ago in fact....

-CJB

 

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