Texas is a pretty good place to see snakes. You still have to look for them but it seems easier to see snakes in theLower Rio Grande Valley than many other parts of the nation. That might not make some people happy but the truth about snakes is that they are much more afraid of you than you are of them. They have to be wary of people because they are unfortunately killed far too often just for being a snake.
Sure, you have to keep your distance from rattlesnakes, Cottonmouths, and other venemous species but even those snakes are pretty easy to avoid. One snake that actually eats even the biggest of rattlesnakes is the Texas Indigo Snake.
Two Texas Indigo Snakes mating.
This past Friday, I found two Texas Indigo Snakes that were mating. This is a pretty rare occurrence because it is only the second time I’ve seen snakes mating and the first time I’ve taken photos.
Two Texas Indigo Snakes.
Notice the salmon color on the throat!
These two Texas Indigo Snakes were each about 6-feet long, though they can get considerably larger. Texas Indigo Snakes are thought to be the longest snakes in the United States of America and are one of the only snakes that will hunt down, kill and devour big Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes. These tough predators will even catch and eat rattlers their own size and may be immune to their venom.
Texas Indigo Snakes catch and eat rattlesnakes as big as themselves.
For that reason, ranchers and farmers prize them. They are non venomous and don’t pose a threat to humans. They are also one of the few snakes active during daylight, are lightning fast, excellent swimmers and have a sense of smell/taste that’s incredible. One year when I was photographing at a drying waterhole, I was curious how long it took some of the animals to notice my presence. The first, by far, were Indigo Snakes – even quicker than deer, bobcats, coyotes and javelinas.
Texas Indigo Snakes are a threatened species in Texas.
Unfortunately, these beautiful, welcome snakes are threatened in Texas. These top predators need large amounts of habitat with plenty of prey items and have been declining as the grasslands, mesquite, and other natural habitats they prefer have been converted into areas for housing, parking lots, and buildings. Many are also killed on roads that go through their habitat.
They like to hang out near water so you might see one if you spend enough time near streams, ponds, and other sources of water that are found in extensive areas of habitat. Consider yourself lucky if you see one of these big, beautiful snakes whle birding in southern Texas!