Western diamondback rattlers have started showing up in places outside their traditional ranges.
KFDM Channel 6 Beaumont meteorologist Greg Bostwick reported one found near Winnie last August.
“The snake was captured alive about one mile south of my house in Chambers County and it was about 4.5 feet long,” Bostwick said.
The snake was kept in a cage and became a hot news item in Beaumont due to the area not being typical diamondback country. In fact, until recently the closest verified sightings were west of Houston along the Interstate 10 corridor.
The rattler varieties native to the region are the pigmy and timber rattlesnakes, both of which are rarely encountered.
Mike Hoke of Shangri-La Botanical Gardens in Orange said he was present when a large western diamondback was found on a research expedition at the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge a couple of years ago.
“That was quite the surprising find,” he said.
According to KHOU Houston News, Jordan Rubottom had a verified western diamondback encounter of the painful kind in Kingwood last October
Rubottom walks Greenbelt Trails often with family members and was bitten by one with three eyewitnesses to aid in positive identification of the snake.
She spent five days in the hospital and received six vials of anti-venom according to KHOU.
So, why the sudden outbreak of western diamondback sightings?
Are the venomous serpents migrating in naturally or are they coming in through agricultural shipments from the Rio Grande Valley or perhaps from barges along the Intracoastal Canal?
The possibilities are intriguing and will be the subject of a future article here at fishgame.com.