Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect clarifications made by the Salado Volunteer Fire Department.
SALADO, Texas (KXAN) – A central Texas volunteer fire department is asking people everywhere to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes in pool toys.
“When someone picked up one of their pool noodles, a large rattlesnake fell out. And they realized later that several baby snakes were still inside,” a post from the Salado Volunteer Fire Department originally said. After KXAN reached out, the post was altered to be less specific.
“There could be snakes in your pool noodles,” they changed the post to say.
As temperatures rise, the department say it’s common for snakes to look for dark and cool spaces to hide during the day. They recommended keeping pool toys elevated or sealed if they’re being stored outside. Moreover, This Old House recommends removing possible shelters (like rolled up water hoses) and filling holes in yards that could make nice homes for snakes.
If a snake bites you, the Salado Volunteer Fire Department advises staying calm and heading to the hospital as soon as possible. Be able to describe the snake to hospital staff as best as you can.
Don’t try to cut at the wound, suck the venom out or try to capture the snake, the department warned.
Despite the instinctual fear (also called ophidiophobia) that snakes may trigger, it’s important to remember that snakes generally want to steer clear of humans, too. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says most snake bites are the result of humans being reckless or threatening to the snakes.
Few animals have been as historically maligned as snakes, as several University of Illinois’ Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory students explain in “Why YOU Should Care about Snakes.” Snakes have often become victims of unprovoked killings, even though they don’t prey on humans. Moreover, they serve many important functions for humans.
One big help snakes offer is by controlling pest populations — and controlling the harmful diseases they can carry. Additionally, recent research out of Cornell University showed snakes help disperse seeds released by the plants in their ecosystems. These seeds are oftentimes eaten by other animals and don’t survive digestion. But researchers say snakes can’t digest many seeds, so they come out intact during excretion.
If you’re worried about snakes on your property or in your home, it’s recommended to call pet specialists who can help remove them without harming or killing them.