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Local residents alarmed over snakes found near homes - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Local residents alarmed over snakes found near homes

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

Rob Broussard's Broadmoor home in Shreveport backs up to a city drainage ditch, which often fills up with water and tall grass.

That combination attracts snakes, some of the venomous variety.

"A neighbor two doors down has already had two dogs bitten. Another neighbor's dog was killed by a snake bite."

Broussard says he tries to keep the grass cut near his property and says he's killed several large water moccasins over the past couple months.

"Snakes don't grow that big by starving. They're eating something and what they're eating is the rats. And the rats come from the ditch that's not mowed on a regular basis."

But experts will tell you - snakes instinctively avoid humans and all of them have a purpose on nature's food chain.

"This is a speckled king snake. It's got a lot of black with yellow speckles. This is a very good thing to have around because if you see one of these, it's taking care of all the other snakes too," explains Steven Kennedy, of Steve's Snaketuary.

Specially licensed to rescue and own venomous species Kennedy's Snaketuary works to educate residents about the reptiles.

"Snakes are very good for the environment because they keep the rodent population down. That's important because rats and mice can destroy crops and farms."

He says non-venomous species are often confused with their much more dangerous counterparts.

"Most of our venomous snakes have eliptical eyes or a cats slit and this has just got a round eye," Kennedy says while holding a Texas rat snake.

As for Broussard, he's just keeping a close watch on the area.

"My biggest concern is having a human bitten by one of these snakes."

Even though your first instinct may be to kill the snake, Kennedy asks that you contact a rescue like his Snaketuary to save them instead.

He says the snake will then be released back into the wild, and away from humans.

Kennedy also suggests making sure things like dog and cat food aren't left outside at your home. These attract mice and rats, which of course attract the snakes.

Keep in mind, according to the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, venomous snakes can't strike a distance longer then their body length, but experts suggest generally staying at least five or six feet away from any snake you can't identify.

For more information on Steve's Snaketuary, call (318) 525-6241 or visit his website here.

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