Cicada season in Texas means you could see more snakes

Snakes are an integral part of the Texas ecosystem

Copperhead snake Credit: Virginia Wildlife Management and Control
Copperhead snake Credit: Virginia Wildlife Management and Control (Virginia Wildlife Management and Control)

SAN ANTONIO – It’s cicada season in Texas and that could mean you’ll see more snakes.

Texas has an emergence of cicadas almost every year, according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Adult cicadas vary in size and coloring according to their species and the larger species are about 1-5/8 inches long.

Male cicadas are known to perch on tree trunks and branches and “sing” to females, who do not make that distinct noise that most Texans are likely familiar with, according to officials with the Agrilife Extension.

However, the emergence of cicadas and their singing also coincides with an uptick in snake appearances.

“Copperheads eat cicadas and seem to aggregate during cicada emergence season to take advantage out of this temporary increase in the availability of food,” Texas Parks and Wildlife Herpetologist Paul Crump told KSAT.

“As cicadas emerge from the ground and climb up trees and other vertical objects to dry out and complete their metamorphosis, copperheads tend to aggregate at the base of these objects to intercept them and eat them,” Crump said.

A press release from Agrilife Extension officials sent in May states that “snake activity will increase as temperatures climb.”

Snakes sometimes get a bad rap but they are an integral part of the Texas ecosystem and an important predator of insects and small mammals.

Agrilife Extension Wildlife Specialist Maureen Frank said in the press release that there are roughly 75 snake species in Texas but only about a dozen are venomous and they’re typically not aggressive.

“When you encounter a snake, it’s best to just leave it alone,” Frank said. “Most bites occur when a person is trying to handle the snake or trying to kill it. It’s best to give them plenty of room and let them go on their way.”

In the heat of the Texas summer, snakes tend to prefer shade. “On a cool morning, you may find a snake sunning a rock along a hiking trail or the stones in a walkway or a paved walking trail. When it’s hot, they may be in the shade under a bush or sheet of plywood or in a brush pile. These are things to consider when you go outside,” said Frank.

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