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Ways to keep you and your pets can stay safe from rattlesnakes after 11-year-old from Golden bitten

Texas Daily Life
Posted at 1:42 PM, Jun 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-28 15:42:29-04

DENVER — After an 11-year-old boy was bitten by a rattlesnake while biking near Golden, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has shared important information to keep you and your family safe from rattlesnakes as the weather warms up and the chances of encountering a rattlesnake have increased.

Why are people bitten?
According to CPW, the rattlesnake's defense strategy usually doesn't include a venomous bite, but it will strike if threatened or provoked.

Rattlesnake attacks on humans are rare and usually not fatal for healthy adults; however, bites are still very painful and should always be taken seriously. Children and pets are at a higher risk of harm from a bite due to their smaller size.

What do I do if I get bitten?

"According to the Colorado Poison Center, if bitten by a rattlesnake you should:"

  • Call the Poison Center for instructions, then go to the nearest hospital
  • Remove any jewelry and tight-fitting clothing
  • Stay calm and avoid excess movement
  • Do not cut and try to extract venom
  • Do not use ice, heat, or a tourniquet 

How do I avoid rattlesnakes?

The best way to avoid most dangerous encounters with wildlife is awareness and avoidance. Make sure to stay aware of your surroundings, and avoid nearby wildlife. Other things you should be aware of include:

  • Watching for snakes basking in "sunny areas such as pavements, rocks, trails or roads",
  • Watching where you put your hands and feet at all times, and being especially careful around "areas such as rocks or logs that could be sheltering a rattlesnake",
  • Not hiking with headphones in "so you can listen for a rattlesnake's distinctive rattle",
  • Protecting "your feet and ankles as they are usually closest to rattlesnakes",
  • Using extra caution when it starts to get dark, and traveling in groups.

More people means more opportunities to see or hear a snake. Not to mention, "more people to call emergency services in the event of a bite."
What do I do if I come across a snake?

If you happen to hear the distinct rattle, follow these steps to decrease the likelihood of a bite:

  1. Immediately freeze in place
  2. Look around until you locate the snake
  3. Back away

You should "NEVER, under any circumstances, should you try to catch, kill, provoke, or move a rattlesnake. One-third of people who suffer snake bites were bitten as a result of trying to handle or kill the snake."
If you find a snake in your home, call your local wildlife office for directions. In many urban areas, pest control companies can remove them for you.

How do I keep my pets safe?

The best way to keep your pets safe is to "keep them on a six-foot leash as required on most public lands in Colorado."

If you live in an area where rattlesnakes are common, try to get rid of piles of rocks or grassy areas that could conceal snakes or common prey. Even with these protocols in place, be sure to do a quick sweep of the area before letting your pets roam free.

In the event of a bite, seek immediate veterinary attention and call the clinic ahead of time.
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