As if flood victims in Texas and Oklahoma didn't already have enough to worry about, now comes word that snakes are slithering into water-logged homes.
High water levels are bringing snakes — and even alligators in some cases — into the open in flooded yards, but the creatures are also heading for the comforts of the living room and bedroom, reports the Dallas Morning News.
"I was talking on the telephone," one resident told the News. "I said, 'There's a snake in my house,' and I hung up. I was in a state of shock."
One wildlife expert called the current mild spring weather, heavy rains and rising waters a "perfect storm" for an inundation of snakes. The situation is similar in Oklahoma or "Texoma", as the locals call he border area along the states, and even Arkansas.
But not to worry — much. Only a small percentage of snakes are venomous — rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins and coral snakes — and they're found only in particular regions. Much more common,and harmless, are rat snakes, large water snakes and grass snakes.
If a snake invites himself to dinner, herpetologist Andrew Gluesenkamp with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife suggests: "Don't panic." If left alone, they usually leave on their own, said Gluesenkamp.
"I know people tend to panic, and people tend to panic more easily when there's a disaster going on," he added. "I would worry much more about how my neighbors are doing rather than the snake on my porch."
Texas rat snakes and the large but harmless water snakes are much more common, in addition to the numerous grass snakes.