Snake mating seasons proves treacherous for pets

Posted at 1:28 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 10:01:36-04

A Land O' Lakes pet owner along with her dog are feeling the sting of a rattlesnake bite. 

As her beloved dog Angel recovers, her owner, Cynthia Wainwright, is left with a $1,600 vet bill.

It happened March 16 near Connerton.

According to Chris Wirt, owner of A All Animal Control in Tampa, says he has seen an uptick in calls for snakes.  He estimates receiving about five to 10 calls a day.

"This is the time of year where they are starting to mate," Wirt said. "You may have already seen some of them where they are in a mating ball where they wrap themselves up together."

Wirt told ABC Action News warmer temperatures are also making the snakes more active.

"They are cold-blooded animals so they try to stay in the sun," Wirt said.

Wirt said rain also brings more snakes out.

"Sometimes when the water is higher it will cause them to move around. Last year we saw a lot of cottonmouth or water moccasins during the time right after it rained because the water was so high, so people were having them up in their yards and they are just trying to get to a dryer area," Wirt said.

Wirt said Coral, Pygmy Rattlers, Eastern Diamondbacks and Water Moccasin snakes have made appearances in the bay area.

"We've seen a lot of snakes this year," he warned.

Wirt urges pet owners to always be cautious when allowing dogs, cats or other domesticated animals out into the yard or even when you are walking them on a leash.

"Pets are instinctively curious. So if they see a snake, they are going to try and get close to it and see what it is," Wirt said.

Wirt wants pet owners to cautiously walk around their yard and look for snakes before letting a pet out.

He offers these tips for keeping snakes out of your yard:

  • Keep you yard free of debris
  • Don't let there be places where snakes can hide like in piles of wood
  • Mow your lawn

Wainwright said Angel is expected to recover. However, without pet insurance, Wainwright has had to open up new credit cards to pay the vet bill.