No one needs to tell Ricky Little that it’s copperhead season in Texas.
He said he kills several snakes every summer night. Little said he’s usually armed with a sharp-pointed shovel and a spotlight.
During the four warm-weather summer months in 2011, he killed 67 copperheads, he said. The snakes measured between 14 and 25 inches each.
Weatherford business owner Chuck Songer has a different take on the reptiles, however, though he does acknowledge that this is the time of year when people can see them the most.
“Copperheads are all over the place,” said Songer, adding, “they normally get no bigger than about two feet.”
Songer, who owns Charlee’s House of Reptiles on Santa Fe Drive, said the best thing to do if you see a snake is to leave it alone.
“Don’t mess with snakes,” Songer said. “You leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.”
Copperheads, Texas rat snakes and bull snakes are all around during this time of year, and they feed on vermin. They’re good snakes to have around, Songer said.
“Bull snakes are light brown or yellow with black rings on the tail, which kind of makes them look like a rattlesnake. They’re not — and they are one of the best at taking care of field mice of all sizes. They’re your friend for mice around the home,” he said.
Harmless water snakes, which may look like water moccasins, are also around during the summer, he noted. They will take care of another problem in ponds in the form of dead and/or decaying fish, Songer said.
“Water snakes are very beneficial because they keep the odors down in ponds because of the heat and decaying fish,” he said.
Andy Gluesenkamp, state herpetologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said the slithery creatures are looking for food, cover, water and sometimes a mate.