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What you need to know about rattlesnakes when hiking

Rattlesnake
Posted at 7:16 AM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 09:16:17-04

COLORADO SPRINGS —  The weather is warming up and more people are hitting the trails but it’s important to be extra aware that rattlesnakes are starting to come out this time of the year.

You can often see snakes in rocky areas, around logs, or out near the trail sunbathing. They like the sun.

I spoke with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and they tell me the biggest problem they see when it comes to rattlesnake encounters, is people going off the trail. That is why you want to make sure you’re staying on the trail. Often, you will hear or see a rattlesnake before it gets aggressive. The chances of the snake biting you are slim. Snakes only attack you when they feel threatened. That is why they make noise to warn you ahead of time.

“They are doing what other animals do to defend themselves, so they are giving you that warning, and they don’t want you to go past a certain barrier of theirs and that’s all they are doing. They don’t come after you to attack you,” said Corey Adler, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer.

“When you pass a certain mark, or for more likely cases your dog passes that mark, that’s when they defend themselves and strike. A lot of times there are false strikes so they just strike to warn you to get away. And sometimes they’ll even bite and not even inject venom.”

I’m told there are three things you can do to keep yourself safe. You want to stay on the trail and keep in mind, snakes are usually found on the corners of the trail if they come out to sunbathe. So, keep your distance if you see a snake. And it’s very important to keep your dog on a leash. I’m told this is a big problem here in Colorado Springs.

You may remember a young boy died last yearfrom a rattlesnake bite. It’s rare, but if you do get bit, go to the hospital as soon as possible. If your dog gets bit, take it to the vet immediately.
 
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