While the beach may seem like an ideal escape for solitude during the holiday season, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is issuing a warning to winter beachgoers about an unexpected presence – rattlesnakes. As temperatures drop, these cold-blooded creatures emerge from their nests and burrows to bask in the warmth of the sand, making the beach a surprising destination for these slithering reptiles.
Galveston Island State Park officials took to Facebook on Monday to alert the public to this phenomenon. In a post accompanied by a photo of a coiled Western diamondback rattlesnake, they explained, “The sand dunes at Galveston Island State Park make the perfect home for rattlesnakes: close to warm sand, good hunting grounds, and protected from humans.”
The Western diamondback rattlesnake holds the title of the most common rattlesnake species in the state of Texas, as reported by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Recognizable by its brown coloration and diamond-shaped markings along the middle of its back, coupled with alternating black and white rings on its tail, the Western diamondback can reach lengths of up to seven feet. This venomous species is found throughout Texas, excluding the easternmost region.
Texas is home to a total of 10 rattlesnake species, with the Western diamondback being prevalent. Despite their venomous nature, the National Safety Council highlights that the likelihood of a person being killed by lightning is five times greater than the risk of a snakebite. As holiday beach outings become popular, authorities advise beachgoers to exercise caution, stay vigilant, and be aware of the potential presence of rattlesnakes in the sandy terrain.