How to react if you come across a rattlesnake while hiking

Snakes will become more active as the temperatures start to warm up. The good news is there are safety tips to keep you on the trail and out of the emergency room.

“Rattlesnakes anywhere are most active and most likely to be out…from about 78 degrees on up to about 90 degrees” says Joe Hymes, who is with the Venom Curator at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in Scottsdale, AZ. And Arizona knows rattlesnakes.

If you do encounter a rattlesnake on your favorite trail, Hymes recommends staying calm and staying at least three feet away.

“Even the biggest rattlesnakes… are only going to be able to strike from about two feet, so if you’re three feet away, you’re at a safe range. And from there,” Hymes said, “just walk around them. Give them their space. They’re not going to chase you.”

To avoid them, watch your step, rattlesnakes are masters of camouflage. If you encounter a rattlesnake slowly back away. The snake will likely try to get away from you.

At home, clear away debris and overgrown vegetation. This way there’s nowhere for them to hide and find shade.

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