COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Parks and Wildlife says rattlesnakes are beginning to emerge from their winter dens as temperatures get warmer.
The spring and fall seasons are the most important times for outdoor enthusiasts to be wary of snakes, according to CPW Species Conservation Coordinator Tina Jackson. In a Colorado Outdoors podcast, Jackson shared her knowledge of rattlesnakes in Colorado.
“The temperatures they prefer during daylight hours are when humans are the most active,” said Jackson.
Colorado is home to thirty different species of snakes. Of those numbers, Jackson says only three are rattlesnakes. The prairie rattlesnake is considered to be the most common species that Coloradans come across. Prairie rattlesnakes can be found all throughout the state below 9,000 feet, according to Jackson.
The western rattlesnake is commonly spotted toward the western edge of the state.
And southeast of Colorado is home to the desert Massasauga, a small rattler that is only two feet long with vibrant colors.
Jackson stated that because snakes are ectotherms and cold-blooded mammals, their body temperature matches that of their environment.
“The prairie snake for example is most active when temperatures are between 66 and 86 degree Fahrenheit,” said Jackson. “During the summer, it can get too hot, so they come out more during the evening or at night.”
Snakes are widely misunderstood and misrepresented animals, according to Jackson. They sit in the middle of the food chain, which means they have many more predators than people realize. These animals also balance the ecosystem by, “controlling the rodent population around the sate,” she said.