(HASTY, Colo.) — A rattlesnake was recently spotted by Colorado State Patrol (CSP) troopers near John Martin Reservoir State Park in Hasty, near Lamar, serving as a good reminder to be vigilant when enjoying Colorado’s outdoors.

“This is what we call a nope rope. Our friends [at Colorado Parks and Wildlife] would call it a rattlesnake. Be careful when out walking or hiking. This big fella is near John Martin Reservoir,” warned CSP La Junta & Lamar on Monday, Aug. 7.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) lists several tips to keep you and your pets safe from rattlesnakes on its website, writing that, “Most of the time, rattlesnakes will not strike at people unless they feel threatened or are deliberately provoked.”

CPW said that attacks on people are rare and usually not fatal for a healthy adult, but added that the bites can be painful, and have an increased effect on children and pets.

Here’s what CPW said people should do if a rattlesnake is encountered:

  • Freeze in place. Snakes are often heard before they are seen. If you hear a rattlesnake, FREEZE in place until you or a companion can locate the animal. Attempting to move away from a snake you can’t see may lead you closer to it! Even if the snake is in plain view, freezing movement will reduce the threat you pose to the snake and help you calmly assess the situation.
  • Establish space between you and the snake as they can strike from a long distance. A good rule of thumb is to put at least five feet between yourself and the snake. If possible, move slowly back the way you came.
  • Leave the snake alone. NEVER, under any circumstances, should you try to catch, kill, provoke, or move a rattlesnake. One-third of people who suffer snake bites were bitten as a result of trying to handle or kill the snake. Move around the rattlesnake at a safe distance out of its way.
  • If you find a snake in your home or garage, call your local wildlife office for directions. In urban areas, many pest control companies can remove them for you.

CPW added that the best way to keep your pets safe is to keep them on a six-foot leash.

In the event of a bite, here’s what you should do:

  • Call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for instructions, then go to the nearest hospital
  • Remove any jewelry and tight-fitting clothing
  • Stay calm and avoid excess movement
  • Do not cut and try to extract venom
  • Do not use ice, heat, or tourniquet
  • Do not try to capture or kill the snake

If your pet is bitten, CPW said to seek immediate veterinary attention and call the clinic ahead of time. Do not attempt to kill or catch the snake for identification.

For additional tips to keep you and your pets safe, click on the tips link above.