SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good4Utah) – As temperatures rise, more snakes are coming out of hibernation and reptile enthusiasts are reminding the public to be aware.
“They are starting to come out of hibernation. They usually are found in den sites so you see them come out all together. So now is the time you’re going to be seeing them in the morning early or later at night when the sun starts to go down and they start to cool off,” said Haley Bechard with Utah Rattlesnake Avoidance.
She encourages, hikers, bikers and anyone enjoying the outdoors to keep their eyes and ears open by staying aware.
“[Watch] where you [put] your feet. All bites happen, many don’t happen to people, about one to two people get bit in a year and they usually aren’t fatal here in Utah. So, the thing to do is watch out for them–give them at least three feet of space if you find one,” said Bechard.
Here in Salt lake, Bechard says there’s seven different species of rattlesnakes in Utah. But the most common is the Great Basin.
“They are going to be found in the mountains, in forest areas, desert areas so they are pretty much most widely spread in Utah,” Said Bechard.
“The non-venomous Gopher Snake is often mistaken for a rattler, but it’s still a snake and should be avoided. When they get mad they can actually puff out their face and make it diamond shape and they take their tail and rattle it in anything around it. So these guys are very convincing,” said Bechard.
If you like to take your dogs outdoors with you, you especially need to be careful.
“Dogs are 20% more likely to get bit. They are also 25% more likely for it to be fatal. If you think about it, dogs are curious, if anything moves, something smells weird they are going to run up to go investigate,” said Bechard.
Through sight, scent, and sound you can learn to stay away from potentially dangerous situations. The class is offered through Utah Rattle Snake Avoidance and Scales and Tales Utah. Whether human or a dog both can learn to stay safe.
“Most bites happen from messing with the rattlesnake,” said Bechard.