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8 Most Snake Infested Lakes in Oklahoma

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Oklahoma is home to a diverse array of snake species, with over 40 types found across the state. While most snakes in Oklahoma are nonvenomous, there are 7 venomous species, including 5 types of rattlesnakes.

Some lakes in Oklahoma have higher concentrations of snakes than others. Cottonmouths, copperheads, timber rattlesnakes, and other snakes are frequently spotted around and in certain lakes.

7 Most Snake Infested Lakes in Oklahoma

If you plan on visiting any of the following lakes, be aware of the potential snake encounters:

Most Snake Infested Lakes in Oklahoma

1. Lake Texoma

With 89,000 acres, Lake Texoma is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States. Located on the Texas-Oklahoma border, the lake gets around 6 million visitors per year.

The expansive size and popularity of Lake Texoma make snake sightings common. You may spot the following snake species:

Stay vigilant when swimming, fishing, or boating on Lake Texoma. Avoid thick brush and marshy areas where snakes may lurk.

2. Lake Eufaula

Covering over 100,000 surface acres, Lake Eufaula is another massive lake located in eastern Oklahoma. With ample shoreline and wetlands surrounding the lake, snakes thrive in the area.

Lake Eufaula is home to:

  • Water snakes
  • Copperheads
  • Cottonmouths
  • Western diamondback rattlesnakes

When visiting Lake Eufaula, be extra cautious in grassy and rocky areas where snakes may hide. Wear thick boots and pants when hiking nearby.

3. Lake Thunderbird

Lake Thunderbird is a popular recreational spot near Norman, Oklahoma. The 6,000 acre reservoir attracts visitors with its trails, nature center, and campgrounds.

However, Lake Thunderbird’s wilderness also provides ideal snake habitat. Watch for these snakes at Lake Thunderbird:

  • Water snakes
  • Copperheads
  • Cottonmouths
  • Timber rattlesnakes

Stick to main paths when exploring Lake Thunderbird. Check carefully before reaching into crevices or thick foliage.

4. Lake Hefner

Located in Oklahoma City, Lake Hefner supplies water to the metropolitan area. With over 9 miles of trails circling the 2,500 acre lake, it’s a popular spot for walking, biking, and boating.

Lake Hefner has:

  • Water snakes
  • Garter snakes
  • Rattlesnakes

Stay vigilant on Lake Hefner’s trails and shoreline. Avoid tall grasses and brush where snakes may lurk. Wear sturdy shoes when hiking.

5. Oologah Lake

Oologah Lake is a reservoir spanning over 22,000 acres in northeastern Oklahoma. Popular activities include boating, fishing, camping, and swimming.

However, its wilderness waters contain cottonmouths, copperheads, and other snakes. Watch for:

  • Water snakes
  • Copperheads
  • Cottonmouths
  • Timber rattlesnakes

When at Oologah Lake, carefully check boats and shuttle craft before boarding. Avoid swimming in marshy areas.

6. Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees

Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees has over 1,300 miles of shoreline, making it ideal snake territory. The lake allows boating, fishing, and other recreation.

However, keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Water snakes
  • Copperheads
  • Cottonmouths
  • Prairie rattlesnakes

Wear protective footwear when hiking near Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. Carefully check boats and docks for snakes before boarding. Avoid swimming in dense vegetation.

7. Lake Tenkiller

With its picturesque coves and wooded shoreline, Lake Tenkiller is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and camping. However, its beauty belies snake hazards.

Watch for these snakes at Lake Tenkiller:

  • Water snakes
  • Copperheads
  • Cottonmouths
  • Timber rattlesnakes

When camping at Lake Tenkiller, set up tents in open areas away from brush and tall grass. Wear thick shoes and pants when hiking nearby trails.

8. Collinsville Lake

Collinsville Lake covers 55 acres in Collinsville, Oklahoma. The lake is known for its population of cottonmouth snakes, which are venomous.

Other snake species found at Collinsville Lake include:

  • Water snakes
  • Garter snakes
  • Rattlesnakes

When visiting Collinsville Lake be cautious around the water’s edge and avoid marshy areas where cottonmouths lurk. Wear thick boots and pants when hiking nearby trails. Check boats and docks thoroughly before boarding.

How to Avoid Snake Encounters at Oklahoma Lakes?

While snake sightings may be common at these lakes, there are precautions you can take to lower risks:

  • Wear closed-toe shoes and long pants when hiking. Avoid reaching into crevices or underbrush.
  • When camping, avoid setting up tents near dense vegetation or piles of wood/debris.
  • Carefully check boats, pontoons, docks and swimming areas before entering.
  • Give snakes space if encountered. Do not try to touch or harass them.
  • Keep pets nearby and leashed when outside. Don’t allow them to explore tall grass or brush.
  • Avoid swimming in marshy areas or near brush and roots.
  • Learn how to identify native venomous snakes like cottonmouths and copperheads.

What to Do if Bitten by a Venomous Snake?

If you are bitten by a venomous snake while at an Oklahoma lake, follow these steps:

  • Remain calm and still. Increased heart rate can circulate venom faster.
  • Slowly move away from the snake to avoid being bitten again.
  • Remove jewelry or tight clothing near the bite area. This can cut off circulation.
  • Position yourself below heart level to slow venom flow.
  • Clean the bite area with soap and water if possible. Don’t use freezing, tourniquets or suction.
  • Take a photo of the snake if possible, which can help identify antivenom.
  • Seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or get to an ER as fast as possible.
  • Monitor bite for swelling, bruising or other symptoms while traveling to get care.

With proper precautions, you can still enjoy Oklahoma’s beautiful lakes while avoiding snake encounters. Use good judgment, wear protective gear, and remain alert in snake-prone areas. Seek immediate medical care if bitten.

5 Key Facts About Venomous Snakes in Oklahoma

Venomous Snakes in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has 7 types of venomous snakes to be aware of:

1. Copperheads

  • Light brown camouflage pattern
  • Found throughout Oklahoma
  • Milder venom than rattlesnakes
  • Bites require prompt medical care

2. Cottonmouths

  • Often found in water
  • Very aggressive when threatened
  • Whitish mouth coloring
  • Potent venom requiring urgent treatment

3. Rattlesnakes

  • Includes prairie, timber and western diamondback species
  • Distinguished by segmented rattles on tail
  • Give loud warning rattle if aggravated
  • Inject hemotoxic venom attacking blood and tissues

4. Coral Snakes

  • Red, yellow and black banding
  • Small, reclusive snakes
  • Neurotoxic venom can paralyze nervous system
  • Antivenom needed rapidly

5. Copperhead Snakes

  • Smaller than many venomous snakes
  • Cause most snakebite injuries in Oklahoma
  • Have heat-sensing pits to strike accurately
  • Can be found statewide and active at night

Staying informed on Oklahoma’s venomous snakes can help you recognize and avoid them. Seek immediate medical treatment for any snakebite exhibiting symptoms of envenomation.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Snakes in Oklahoma Lakes

1. Are water snakes in Oklahoma lakes venomous?

Most water snakes in Oklahoma lakes are nonvenomous species. The cottonmouth is the only venomous water snake found in Oklahoma. It has a brown, black and olive pattern with a white mouth interior.

2. What are the most common venomous snakes found around Oklahoma lakes?

Copperheads, cottonmouths, prairie rattlesnakes and timber rattlesnakes are among the most frequently encountered venomous snakes near Oklahoma lakes.

3. When are snakes most active around Oklahoma lakes?

Snake activity increases during spring and summer as temperatures rise. They may bask in sunny areas and become more visible. However, warm winter days may also draw snakes out.

4. Are snakes found in the water or only on land around Oklahoma lakes?

While many snakes prefer terrestrial habitats, cottonmouths and some nonvenomous water snakes swim and hunt in Oklahoma lakes. Any area near lake vegetation could harbor snakes.

5. What should I do if I see a snake while swimming in an Oklahoma lake?

Calmly and slowly exit the water while giving the snake plenty of space. Alert other swimmers to avoid the area. Identify the snake if possible, but don’t approach or try to handle it.

In Conclusion

Oklahoma lakes provide wonderful recreational opportunities, but snakes are a reality in these habitats. Using good judgment, protective clothing, and awareness of surroundings can reduce snake encounters. Learn to identify venomous species, and seek prompt medical care if bitten. Taking sensible precautions allows us to safely enjoy the natural beauty of Oklahoma’s lakes.

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