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How to avoid snakes on the trails

How to avoid snakes on the trails
Posted at 6:17 AM, May 06, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — As the weather warms up, more people are spending time on the trails. And for anyone who plans on taking a Mother’s Day hike this weekend, you might want to be extra aware of snakes.

Many trails throughout Colorado Springs are home to snakes as well. I spoke with Wesley Hermann, a park ranger for the city of Colorado Springs Trails, Open Space and Parks Division, and he tells me it’s important to be respectful of the snakes here. This region has a couple different species of snakes but only one species of rattlesnakes.

Hermann says you usually see snakes in rocky areas and around logs. Sometimes they can be out on the trail sunbathing.

The best thing you can do on the trail is back away if you see a snake and take a different route. If an animal, such as a snake changes its behavior, for example, it starts rattling, you should get away from it as soon as possible.

“We’ve got a couple different species but only one species of rattlesnake in Colorado Springs. The biggest thing is just being aware, this is the time of the year there’s going to be more of them. They’re more active. So just kind of being out and about and just giving them their space if we do encounter them,” said Hermann.

Need a cheat sheet for snakes in Colorado? Check out CU Boulder's Museum of Natural History's website.

“We’re really big about leave no trace and the ethics and the philosophy behind that and there are seven leave no trace principles, and the sixth principle is to respect wildlife and there’s a lot of ways to do that but the biggest one is remembering we’re visitors in their home and just giving them space so that they feel comfortable, they’re not getting stressed out.”

Hermann says overall snakes will not bite you unless they feel threatened.

As long as you keep your distance and you’re alert on the trail, you should be safe while hiking. But if you do get bit, you want to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Hermann says the rule of thumb is something to demonstrate when seeing snakes on a trail. Put your hand out at an arm’s length and if you can cover the animal, then you’re far enough away. But if not, back away.

For more information on snake safety visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Website.

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