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Snake in a Breaker Box…. Wait, What?!

Snakes on a Plane Wire?

With warming temperatures here in Fort Worth, wildlife we haven’t seen since last summer has begun roaming more. Lizards, spiders, and yes, snakes, all move more in the warm summer temperatures. Generally, Fort Worth homeowners will not see snakes; but this is never a guarantee, especially here in central Texas.

If you are experiencing electrical issues, and call out your local Fort Worth electrician, the last thing you want to hear is a scream of terror from the direction of the breaker box.

Seriously, a snake in the breaker box?

It happened to one family in Mississippi last year. The husband was the one who opened the breaker box and found the electrocuted reptile, but this odd occurrence is not unheard of in other areas.

In central Texas, we have warm days and cool nights. Reptiles are cold-blooded, which means they must seek sources of external heat to warm their bodies. Some snakes also have electrical sensors, which means a breaker box may shine for them like a warm fire on the hearth in an Alaskan winter blizzard. Because snakes are extremely flexible, they may have no trouble getting into the breaker box.

But then again, getting in is always easier than getting out.

So, whether or not the snake is dead when someone goes to open your breaker box, it is always wise to be cautious.

Rules for preventing snake bites

Now, while it is not a guarantee that you, your neighbor, or anyone in Fort Worth may find a snake in their breaker box this summer, let’s go over some general rules that adapt easily to other areas around your home.

Snakes like warmth when it is cool.

This means any location that stays warm overnight in central Texas could potentially become a snake-hostel for the night. This can include a breaker box, an overturned wheelbarrow, the engine compartment of a vehicle, and many more familiar items and places around your Fort Worth home. Know the types of spots a snake might be likely to seek lodging in for the night, and use caution in the early morning if you must work around those locations and items.

Be dodgy.

If you have to lift the overturned wheelbarrow or access another potential snake-hotel, give it a quick nudge with your foot before you go grabbing it up. Make sure you are wearing closed-toed, closed-heeled shoes, and be ready to step out of range should a wedge-shaped head come darting out at the disturbance.

Use your head.

Once you have revealed the interior of your overnight snake bed and breakfast, should you locate a late-checkout reptile, move back. Move slowly, but steadily, away from the legless creature, and keep your eyes on it. Reptiles generally move slower when weather is cool, but will always surprise a person with their speed when startled. If the snake moves toward you, continue to back away, while watching the snake’s movements. Generally, snakes will leave a human’s presence rather than continue to hang around. If you step far enough away, the snake will often turn around and move away from you.

Know your wildlife removal expert’s number.

If the snake does not leave readily after you have removed their cool-weather shelter option, you may need to contact a skilled and licensed wildlife removal expert. Generally, if you do not have access to that information off the top of your head, your local law enforcement agency should be able to assist you.

Prevent snake-friendly vacation spots in your home and yard.

Keeping grass mowed to a manageable level prevents snakes from using your lawn as a hunting spot. Outdoor lights attract flying insects. Flying insects attract frogs and lizards. Frogs and lizards are what many snakes feast on. Some snakes will associate an outdoor light with a buffet, like the Dunkin’ Donuts of the reptile world. Do not leave overturned wheelbarrows or storage containers in your yard, if at all possible.

Snake Strike Zone

If you have the misfortune to open a breaker box or lift a wheelbarrow and encounter a threatened snake, move back as quickly as possible. A snake can generally strike up to three-fourths of their total body length. Get out of this range as quickly as possible, and then remain still. Watch the snake. Generally, a snake only strikes when threatened at close range. Once you are out of the strike-zone, there should be enough space for the snake to feel safe enough to leave, away from you.

For more information….

There are only 15 potentially dangerous snake species in Texas, and the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife maintains an extremely informative webpage on snake identification and tips for dealing with snakes. For more tips on preventing snake invasions and dealing with one if you’ve got one, check this out!

 

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