(NBC News) — North Texas doctors say with all the rain and flooding forcing wild animals out of their natural habitats, they are seeing a spike in snake bites this spring.
On average Children’s Health in Dallas sees about a dozen snake bites in a year, but just in the last two weeks they have treated six snake bite victims.
One snake bite victim is a third grader bitten while on the playground outside Timber Creek Elementary School in Flower Mound.
“Saw something green and looked more closer and it was a snake,” said the Timber Creek student, Skyler Brown. “I tried moving the snake with the wood chip, and it just bit me.”
Skyler’s hand is still swollen after the bite from a copperhead snake Thursday during recess.
“It started bleeding and I [shook] my hand and it made it worse, so then I ran to my teacher and they made everyone get off the playground,” Skyler said.
The Lewisville Independent School District canceled all outdoor activities as a result, telling NBC 5 in a statement Friday:
“The campus and the district will continue to monitor the weather and will evaluate at that time if outdoor activities will continue during the remaining days of this school year. ”
Now, the third grader is among the half-dozen snake bites seen at Children’s Health in just the last 12 days.
“I’m not too surprised by that just because of the increased rain and flooding that we’re experiencing. The snakes are attracted to safe, dry ground,” said Dr. Victoria Yang, with Children’s Health.
Owner and founder 911 Wildlife Bonnie Bradshaw, which has a contract with North Texas and Houston to address wildlife problems, said her business is getting a lot of calls.
“We are getting people panicking and hysterical just from seeing the snakes because they see them in their yards,” Bradshaw said. She added that most are nonpoisonous, but people are still alarmed by them because they grow four to six feet.
Bradshaw also advised people not to make matters worse by trying to kill them.
“We tell people do not try to kill the snakes by throwing stuff at them because if it feels threatened, the snake will try to defend itself,” Bradshaw said. “The other thing we tell people not to do is put out mothballs. One of the main ingredients is a carcinogen and with all the flooding, it gets into streams and kill fish and frogs.”
Skyler’s hand is starting to get back to normal after the swelling.
“When the snake bit me it felt like, basically, like a bee stinging,” he said.
The pain is going away, too. But the 10-year-old said he isn’t afraid of snakes.
“Not really,” he said. “Because now I know what those look like and I’m gonna stay away from those.”
Medical professionals say anyone bitten by a snake should keep the wound elevated and immediately go to the emergency room.