COLORADO SPRINGS- During the summer, you can always find people enjoying Colorado’s parks and trails, but it’s important to remember you may not be the only one soaking up the sun.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said rattlesnakes are common along the Front Range this time of the year and it is important to keep an eye out for them.
“This time of year. They like to get out early in the morning and bask in that sun as it comes up and warm up. And that starts raising their activity level,” Travis Sauder, assistant wildlife manager with CPW said. “They’re on the ground and they’re fairly camouflaged. So instead of looking ahead real far, be looking at your feet, looking at rocky ledges, things like that, where those snakes like to be.”
Before you head out, make sure to wear long boots and pants as it can help protect your ankles and legs in case you get close. It’s always best to give at least six to ten feet of distance.
“The best thing is if you see a snake, give it its distance… keeping your children close. That way you can help monitor other wildlife with them and then keeping pets on leash. That’s another big one that we see get into conflict with wildlife because they’re ranging and roaming and they’re not necessarily being as aware that we might be,” Sauder said.
If you get bit, Sauder said it is important to try to stay calm and call for help immediately.
“The first thing is to not panic and to stay calm because as that heart rate goes up, that’s going to spread any of that venom through your system quicker,” Sauder said.
He said do not try to treat the wound yourself.
“Tourniquets cutting the wound, sucking the venom on out, those that actually cause more damage than what it’s worth to do,” Sauder said.
Sauder said it’s always helpful to try and remember what the snake looked like as bull snakes can camouflage as rattlesnakes but are not venomous.
“You want to look for a triangular head and then, of course, that rattle on the end. It’s not safe to handle really any of them because even if they’re not venomous, they can still bite and cause quite a painful wound,” Sauder said.