Snakes may have met their match in plastic mesh

Posted Monday, Jul. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Brenda Steele just wanted to protect her garden and keep her dogs in her yard when she bought a roll of plastic mesh from a home improvement store.

“I told the guy at Lowe’s that I wanted something to put over my garden to keep the rabbits, birds and deer out,” she said.

But within days of installing the stuff, Steele and her husband, Jim; and son, Brendan, realized she’d discovered a snake killer, a discovery that many might want to know about, because area physicians have said copperhead attacks seem to be more numerous in 2013.

The first two snakes showed up about three weeks ago — a pair of copperheads, thoroughly dead, twisted in the netting she put under her backyard fence. A third copperhead showed up four days later in the same spot, virtually on top of the others. It had decapitated itself.

“The head was still biting, so I smashed it with a rock,” Steele said.

In the 30 years the Steeles have lived in their southeast Parker County home, the snakes were the first copperheads they’ve seen. Rattlesnakes aren’t uncommon; neither are rat snakes and some big black ones that Steele calls bull snakes.

Indeed, the fourth snake to succumb to the net was a big black one that died on top of the three others.

Yet another copperhead found its demise Saturday in the netting that surrounds Steele’s garden.

When she told a friend in Granbury about her discovery, Steele said, the woman already knew about such netting. The friend’s Australian husband used similar netting to snare and kill a couple of water moccasins that threatened their home. It’s how they deal with snakes in Australia, the friend told her.

“This is magical stuff,” Steele said. “I read the [ Star-Telegram] story about people’s dogs getting bitten by copperheads and I wanted to get the word out that I may have found the solution.”

The magical stuff is Plastic Multipurpose Net, $19.95 per 50-foot roll, said Troy Mahoney, a manager at the Lowe’s on Bryant Irvin Road in Fort Worth, where Steele bought it.

“People use this stuff all kinds of ways — covering things, running fence lines, for plants to climb like a trellis,” he said. “But this is a first for me. I never heard of it being used to kill snakes.”

Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans

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