In the Hill Country of Texas, snakes, quite literally, go along with the territory. Our campus is not immune from snakes, especially during the hot months of summer and early fall. We wanted to let you know some of the things we’re doing things to combat the presence of snakes on campus, particularly around our academic and Rec/Res-life buildings.
Snakes: Awareness and Vigilance on Campus
Our first line of defense is our custodial staff. President Brian Guenther has asked our custodial staff to check for snakes inside all buildings and building perimeters prior to the start of school each day. This will be incorporated into the morning routine for our Facilities staff until the weather cools down this year.
Our second line of defense, and something that we’ll continue to use, is called Snake-A-Way. This product is a combination of sulfur powder and other chemicals that will not harm the snake but will disrupt its senses to make it go elsewhere. We will be treating all building perimeters, play grounds, and other student activity areas with this repellent.
Another key element to combating this issue is awareness. We are telling our SMA students to stay away from any snake they find, no matter what it looks like, and to tell an adult right away if they see a snake (even a dead one). Students should also follow common-sense guidelines, such as avoiding areas with tall grass and using sidewalks and well-lighted paths when it is dark. Or use a flashlight or your phone light when you are out in the evening. Look where you step and never reach under a rock or log where you can’t see clearly. Make a habit to stop, pause and look after opening a door and before stepping outside.
If at any time a snake bite does occur, our staff is trained to handle the situation. (Please see the link regarding snake bites.) Snake bite awareness information sheets are available in strategic areas around campus to reinforce corrective steps. The main thing to remember if you are bit is to stay calm and do not do anything to the bite area. Have someone transport you immediately to an emergency room for evaluation and treatment. As a Poison Control specialist said, the only snake bite kit you really need is a car and directions to the ER.
Our Maintenance and Ground crew, as well as all of our Faculty and Staff, are extremely vigilant regarding snakes at this time and will continue to do our best to remove snakes from our premises. If you find any snake on campus, do not attempt to chase it, capture it, or otherwise engage in any activity with the snake. If you find a snake, inform our Maintenance department at (512) 753-8080 or call our main number at (512) 353-2400. Students only need to tell the closest adult and the matter will be handled.
–Contributed by Matt McNeil, Interim Director of Facilities