Texans who have been plagued with severe floods recently have had a tide of more than one thousand snakes seeking shelter in their homes.
Terrified residents have founds the unwanted snakes by surprise in their homes, in the wheels of cars, and hiding on patios.
The onslaught of snakes has led to a spike in calls for rescue services to shift them out, with more than 1,000 calls for help issued in North Texas and Houston.
There are four types of venomous snake in northern Texas – rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and coral snakes – but they are vastly outnumbered by their non-deadly cousins.
Jeff Lara, who lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, found a rat snake measuring four feet in his kitchen.
Lara said: ‘I opened my grill cover and he jumped at me. The snake coiled back up, and I took a shovel, scooped him up and tossed him in the yard. He just slithered away.’
‘The snake coiled back up, and I took a shovel, scooped him up and tossed him in the yard. He just slithered away.’
Mary Weir, who lives in Dallas, saw a two-foot long snake of an unidentified species slither into her linen closet while she was talking on the phone.
She told the Dallas Morning News that first she trapped the animal by blocking up the closet with heavy books, then decided to remove it from the house herself.
Weir used a long-handled mop to usher the uninvited visitor – most likely a rat snake – out into a nearby park.
She told the News she never thought of trying to hurt it. Weir said: ‘I don’t kill things. It’s not his fault he landed in the wrong house.’
Many Texans confronted with a curled-up reptile in their home have taken to sharing the photographs to social media for help working out whether they are in danger.
Groups like What kind of snake is this? have documented dozens of cases of snakes, most of which turned out not to be dangerous.
According to snake experts, when a snake is found inside a home it is best to leave it alone or attempt to shepherd it away gently with a broom, rather than try to kill it.
A spokesman for 911 Wildlife, a Houston pest control company, said: ‘The important thing is not to try and kill the snake because that’s how people get bitten. If you’re trying to hit it with something, then the snake is going to strike and defend itself’.
Police have cautioned parents to keep their children clear of flood waters because it is mating season for alligators, creating hazards for anyone nearby.
‘Alligators travel great distances this time of year and having more water to do it in certainly facilitates it,’ said Major Chad Norvell with Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department in Texas.
Another threat lurking in flood waters is stinging fire ants, according to Bradshaw.
‘They will form a mat on the surface of the water,’ Bradshaw said.
‘If people see something that looks like a brown rug floating, that’s a nest. Stay away.’