By Cindy Chapman
He may be your typical IT guy but like Clark Kent, Sonny Baker has a secret
identity. This long-time Texan has come to be known as the Snake Guy. In one
particular neighborhood in Roanoke, he’s come to the rescue of many innocent
citizens. Just like any superhero, you’ll find him running to the rescue at a
moment’s notice. If you’ve got a snake, he’ll be there to identify it and re-home it
What started as mere curiosity, Sonny encountered a snake near his Roanoke
home. He and his wife had a newborn and out of an abundance of caution,
Sonny decided to do his own research regarding snakes native to this area and
which snakes were venomous. It didn’t take him long to discover that there are a
lot of misconceptions about snakes. A lot of the advice he had personally received turned out to just simply not be true. So in order to uncover the real truth about snakes, he took his research even further and consulted various experts in
Sonny’s determination to shed some light on the commonly misunderstood snake
has made him one of the most sought-after “snake experts” in our area.
Neighbors often send him photos of snakes to identify, which he does happily.
Even more north Texans have requested his presence to come and remove a
snake from their property. Armed with a bucket, gloves, and a hefty helping of
fortitude, (cape not included) Sonny is happy to re-home any snake that may be
Snakes may not be the favorite among the reptile family, but Sonny would argue
that they should be. Many snakes that we encounter in this part of Texas are in
fact quite harmless. One of the most common snakes, the rat snake, is good for
eating – you guessed it – rats and other rodents. They can be quite timid but are
sometimes mistaken for a rattlesnake as they will shake their tail (as most
snakes do) and rattle leaves or other objects creating that telltale rattling sound.
Most snakes are not looking for trouble, but rather a good meal or a place to hide
from danger. However, for some, it can be hard to erase deep down unmitigated
fears. It’s for this reason that Sonny dedicates his free time to spread the good
word about snakes on social media, in person, or just about anywhere a willing
ear will listen. So, while not everyone can be a hero to snakes like Sonny, we asked him to
debunk some common myths about snakes.
Head and eye shape and snakeskin color alone cannot tell you if a snake
is venomous or not
Snakes are not all that deadly - only about 5 people a year in the US die
from a snake bite
In the event of a snake bite, do not attempt to suck out the venom or try to
agitate the wound
If you see a snake, you’re going to be safe from a snake. 70% of snake
bites occur because the snake was hidden from view
Do not attempt to kill a snake. Many people are unaware that Timber
Rattlesnakes are a legally protected species
So what do you do if you run across a snake either in the wild or in your yard?
Sonny shared this sage advice:
Leave it be.
There are a lot of resources to help you identify a snake that you encounter.
What Kind of Snake is This – North Texas has a Facebook group where you
can share photos and learn more about snakes native to this area. Chances
are once you learn more about snakes and all the good they do, you won’t
mind having them visit your property every now and then.
However, if you do find yourself needing to rid yourself of one of these non-
legged friends, you can always call your local police department for
assistance. Or you can contact Nature’s Edge Wildlife & Reptile Rescue. This
non-profit is dedicated to rehabilitating wildlife as well as educating the public.
Sonny recommends making your property less attractive to snakes by
removing their food source (rodents, pet food, etc.), clearing debris that make
good hiding spaces, and keeping landscaping neat and trim.
He may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound but for some,
Sonny the Snake Guy does possess exceptional abilities that appear to
exceed that of mortal man.