UPDATE Thursday 4:46 p.m.: Texas Parks and Wildlife has updated its original Facebook post, writing, “There has been some discussion about what type of snake this is. The picture quality makes it hard to say for sure but it’s likely not a cottonmouth, but rather a type of non-venomous watersnake. Waternakes are abundant in Texas waters. A good resource for identifying snakes you see in the wild is the iNaturalist citizen science site at http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/herps-of-texas. You can also learn more about Texas snakes athttp://bit.ly/SnakeFacts.”
This winter may be uncharacteristically warm in Central Texas, but you may want to think twice about swimming in any of our local waterways.
Texas Parks and Wildlife posted a photo of a massive cottonmouth snake in Yegua Creek near Lake Somerville, east of Austin, on Sunday.
The Lake Somerville Birch Creek State Park branch of TPWD wrote, “Looks like this Cottonmouth is not missing any meals” on its Facebook page.
Texans may know cottonmouths (also known as water moccasins) as the dark-colored, sometimes entirely black venomous snakes with startlingly white skin on the inside of their mouths. They mostly live in moist habitats like swamps, lakes and rivers, and contrary to popular opinion, they actually can bite you underwater, according to TPWD’s website. So you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for these guys if you plan on taking a dip anytime soon.
According to TPWD, only 7 percent of all Texas snakebite cases involve cottonmouths, and less than 1 percent of all snakebite-related deaths in the United States have been caused by cottonmouths.
Snakes are a natural and integral component of the ecosystem. As predators, they are invaluable for their role in maintaining the balance of nature by helping to keep populations of their prey in check. Their prey consists of everything from earthworms to rabbits, and this includes other snakes. Snakes are especially important in the control of rodents. Bull snakes can be a farmer’s best friend.
The agency also notes that snakes are generally shy and don’t bother humans unless we bother them, and urges you to not kill a snake you come across in the wild because of the valuable function they serve in the environment. TPWD details what to do when you encounter a venomous snake and how to avoid running into one.
Hip restaurants and bars, huge apartment complexes and up-and-coming startups have made themselves cozily at home in the streets east of Interstate 35, an area which was previously known, as the New York Times puts it, as “a place to avoid after dark.”
The publication primarily approaches the east side’s shift from the perspective of those involved in development projects: a commercial real estate agent who asked himself five years ago “Has East Austin finally arrived?” after a female coworker told him she was renting a house in the area and felt safe enough to ride her bike to and from work; an investor in the neighborhood who says the main reason it continues to draw people is “the coolness factor”; Capital Metro vice president who plays a major role in the organization’s massive and controversial Plaza Saltillo project.
Close to the end of the story, Jose Valera, chairman of the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Planning Team, “laments the speed at which gentrification is transforming the neighborhood.” As one real estate agent puts it, “We’re almost out of developable sites downtown, and the only direction to grow is east.” Read the full article here.
A census report by the nonprofit group, which has spent decades monitoring hate groups and extremists in the United States, said the number of hate groups operating in 2016 rose to 917, which was up from 892 the previous year.
The Daily Stormer, which the SPLC lists as a neo-Nazi group
Power of Prophecy, a fundamentalist Christian group the SPLC has accused of being anti-Semitic
Southern National Congress, which is listed by the SPLC as a neo-Confederate group
the Nation of Islam, which the SPLC considers to be a black separatist group
The SPLC report cited Donald Trump’s successful bid for the White House as a factor in energizing radical right-wing groups and fostering anti-Muslim speech and vandalism.
“The increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States,” a statement from the SPLC on Wednesday said.
“The growth has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims, including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an executive order suspending travel from some predominantly Muslim countries,” the statement said.
The SPLC also said it measured a “near-tripling” of anti-Muslim hate groups, from 34 such groups in 2015 to 101 last year.
If you ran out of the house this morning without breakfast, you did it on the right day.
Starting at 9 a.m. Favor will be delivering two free Taco Cabana breakfast tacos to anyone who orders through the delivery service’s app for free. Favor encourages those who receive the free tacos to tip their delivery person.
The promotion will include one bacon and egg taco and one potato and egg taco. From Favor:
Limit one Free Breakfast Taco Special per customer (includes 2 tacos). No additions, no substitutions. Supplies are limited, and delivery times may be longer than normal. Promotion available 2/15/17 in Austin at 9am, while supplies last!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Austin — we’ve got good news and bad news.
The good news: All the single ladies in Austin are in luck, because according to a new study, Austin is one of the best places in the country to find a man who’s “marriage material.” That may mean different things for different people, but according to Trulia, your potential husband is a man who is in his 30s, has a college degree and works at least 40 hours a week. Austin is the fourth-best city to find such men, behind San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.
Even though there are plenty of guys meeting this criteria in Austin, your odds of bagging one aren’t great: According to the study, there are more single women than single men in Austin.
The bad news: Single male Austinites aren’t as fortunate as the women. In fact, you’ll probably have to move to the Eastern Seaboard — somewhere like D.C. suburb Silver Springs, Md., Atlanta or Raleigh, N.C. — to find a marriage-material woman. The study claims the woman of your dreams is in her 40s, has at least a graduate degree, works at least 40 hours a week and may have been married before (but you don’t mind).
The study goes on to break down, city-by-city, the number of single adults in different age groups (20s, 30s and 40s), the number of single adults who work more or less than 40 hours a week, the number of single adults who have gone to college or graduate school and the number of single adults who have never been married.
So if you’re wondering why you’re still single, blame the data — or you can use the data to your advantage to up your odds of finding love. You can even take a quiz and answer a few questions to find out where you can find the man or woman of your dreams, if the criteria listed above aren’t your thing.
Love is in the air, and on the water, in Austin, Texas.
Wendy Martinez emailed the American-Statesman a photo of a rare moment she captured while hiking near Lady Bird Lake Saturday afternoon. The picture shows two swans huddled together, with their necks forming a heart.
“We were so lucky to have run into the swans that day. You never know where they are going to be!” Martinez said of the encounter. “Most mornings they can be found in front of the row club by Austin High. I also pointed out to my daughter that for years one of the swans was alone and in just the last year he/she found a partner. It is lovely to see them daily swimming around the lake!”
“People here eat tacos five days a week. Tacos were here before Texas was Texas,” Rayo said. When asked by the Texas Standard to “make the case” for tacos as the state food of Texas, Rayo’s main point is “You can make anything into a taco. You can make a chili taco. You can make a barbecue taco.” He also speaks of the history behind the dish saying, “Tacos were not imported here. They’re from here. They’re from this land. They’re from the people.”
So what is Rayo’s plan for getting the official dish changed to tacos? “We’ll start with a Change.org petition… we’ll get the signatures. Then we got to go find a hungry legislator that loves tacos. If you’re out there, give me a call.”
David Thompson, an education professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, along with UTSA doctoral fellow and former human resources director Catherine Robert joins the American-Statesman at noon Monday for a Facebook Live discussion on the growing problem of improper teacher-student relationships.
A Statesman investigation, the first of its kind, found that less than half of Texas teachers who lost their teaching licenses after allegations of having improper relationships with students were ever criminally charged, let alone saw jail time. In those cases where charges never occurred, very little information is readily available to the public, including which school the alleged incident happened or the age of the victim. In some cases, school district officials will go so far as to hide the information from the public and law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and state officials have said.
Cracking down on the number of improper teacher-student relationships and penalizing school officials who try to hide such wrongdoings have been the priority for lawmakers this legislative session. Cases of improper teacher-student relationships have climbed 80 percent in the last eight years, according to the Texas Education Agency. During his state of the state address last week, Gov. Greg Abbott said, “Teachers who assault children should lose their license and they should go to jail.”
Do you like the prospect of living out your cowboy fantasies by owning a Texas cattle ranch? Do you have an affinity for UFOs? And are you worth millions of dollars?
Even if you’re not a millionaire or billionaire, you’ll still want to check out the Yates Cattle and Conservation Ranch, priced at a cool $9,240,000. Located 15 minutes from downtown Austin, the ranch features a dwelling resembling a flying saucer (one of about 100 in the world), along with a barn that includes a Tesla charging station, a modular house, and other cool things.
The ranch sits on more than 385 acres of land with gleaming lakes, streams, trails and more.
But this might make you feel a little bit better about Austin traffic: Last week, a Brazilian radio station posted a photo on Facebook of a traffic jam in São Paulo, and let’s just say it’s … pretty brutal.
OK, first of all, this looks like a literal nightmare. It looks like that Rush Hour game that your parents bought you to keep you entertained (in the car, of all places) where you had to get your little red car out of the traffic jam.
Second of all, how did this even happen? According to the translated version of the Facebook photo, a light was broken at the intersection after a storm that caused flooding and fallen trees in the area.
So, Austinites, just be thankful you weren’t stuck in this.