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Spotted: Snakes more active in hot temperatures, hiking trails in Colorado Springs

How to keep you and your pets safe this summer
Posted at 6:05 PM, Jul 24, 2023

More than 20 dogs had to have emergency venom treatments this year. There were 35 in total in 2022, according to a Colorado Springs animal emergency room.

If your dog gets bit, get medical help immediately, said Animal ER Care veterinarians.

"If an animal with a snake bite comes in, that's something that's going to go back to treatment right away," said Dr. Danika Hayden.

Dr. Hayden some snake bites are worse than others. Some, "stay 12 to 24 hours, sometimes it could be more severe and they need to stay for a few days."

Snakes are more active in hotter temperatures, said Colorado Springs Park Ranger Mark Tatro. He said it's best to stay on marked trails, keep dogs on leashes, and stay alert.

"The way a rattlesnake warns you is it rattles and if you have earbuds in or are listening to music, you're unable to hear that warning," said Tatro.

If you see a snake, keep at least five feet from it and turn around, said Tatro. Where there's one, there's more.

"That's his head there; he's about 24, 30 inches long," said Jared Herman as he showed me photos on his phone of a rattlesnake he saw on a hike.

Herman and his son are visiting from Pennsylvania. They saw a rattlesnake on a trail at Ute Valley.

"I saw it's little tail and I told my dad about it and he was like freaking out," said his son.

Thankfully neither of them got bit. They said they were more worried about their curious dog.

"Dogs who haven't been trained to fear snakes, they'll kind of see them and see what's going on and then the snake attacks," said Tatro.

That's why another trail hiker at Pulpit Rock said she always keeps her dog close.

"We just keep her leashed, she would listen and we could get her back, it wouldn't be a problem but she would go off by herself," said Beth Battersby.

Tatro said trails rarely close because snake sightings are so common.

"Treat all snakes as if there were rattlesnakes, if you don't know, it's better to be safe than sorry," said Tatro.

If there ever is an encounter with a rattlesnake, Battersby said it's comforting to know an ER is only a few minutes away.

"I do really like our trails because the ones here in the Springs really aren't that far from help whether for pets or for people," said Battersby.

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