Warmer temperatures resulting in increased snake sightings


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As temperatures warm up and more people venture outdoors, many folks are starting to see some slithery wildlife.

When it comes to people seeing more snakes than usual, the reason is two-fold.

“They’re cold-blooded so they’ll use the rocks to warm them up and they’ll sun,” said Ethan Pruitt, Colorado Parks & Wildlife Southeast Region District Wildlife Manager.

And with more people heading outdoors, more people are going to see wildlife like snakes.

Although snakes, particularly rattlesnakes, are often perceived as threatening, wildlife experts say they’re actually pretty tame.

“Rattlesnakes are extremely docile most of the time so most people when they hear that buzz, they think that it’s an act of aggression but it’s more so a defense mechanism just to tell them you’re right there,” Pruitt explained.

So where should you be extra cautious and aware of slithery creatures?

“You could find them from a local neighborhood even out to Garden of the Gods,” Pruitt said. “Thick vegetation-type areas, especially if it’s real thick from your ankles to your knees.”

Simply put, when you decide to explore the outdoors, you enter into animal territory.

“Give them space,” Pruitt said. “If you see it, just stop where you’re at and then back out and they’ll respect that. Normally they don’t want to be around us anymore than we do around them. You’ll go your way and they’ll go their way.”

In a worst-case scenario, your plan of action depends on whether the snake is venomous. If it’s not, you would treat a bite like an open wound. On the other hand…

“If it’s venomous you’ll want to go get to a hospital as quick as you can,” Pruitt said. “One thing you don’t want to do which is counter-productive, is you don’t want to panic. The minute that happens and your heart rate elevates, that venom will go through your blood stream a lot faster.”

When going outdoors, make sure to pay attention and be respectful of all wildlife. For more information about snakes, visit Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s website.

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