Special to the E-T

With the abundance of moisture and mild weather North Texas has experienced this spring, area snakes are thriving and highly active.

The comfortable temperatures are also enabling the snakes to be more active during time periods where humans are also likely to be outside, which can result in confrontations between the two.

"We have seen glorious weather with no extreme temperatures," said Dr. James Mueller, assistant professor in wildlife management at Tarleton State University. "This is allowing snakes to move about when people aren't used to seeing them."

Unfortunately, snake encounters trigger one of two reactions in humans - fear or the belief that the only good snake is a dead snake.

"Snakes are an important component of the environment," Mueller said. "They eat a lot of rodents. The increased snake activity North Texas is seeing right now is probably an indication of a good rodent population."

Because of snakes' ability to help control rodents, Mueller recommends people let the snakes go about their business instead of killing the reptiles. The majority of snakes are non-aggressive and won't strike unless provoked or stepped on.

"Most snakes are passive," Mueller said. "The only ones that are aggressive are cottonmouths. They'll go out of their way to strike."

As the weather warms up, more people will be working or playing outdoors, which increases the likelihood of finding the beneficial reptiles. However, there are preventative measures that can lesson the risk of an encounter.

"The number one thing