As the temperatures continue to rise here in Payson, Arizona, reptiles and snakes — including rattlesnakes — will begin to appear. This means that residents and visitors of the Rim Country need to take precaution when outside, especially when hiking or exploring trails and creeks.
Oftentimes, the snakes you will pass in the wild or find under or next to your house aren’t harmful. Even rattlesnakes, though extremely venomous, aren’t a direct threat against humans unless provoked.
If you’re walking on a trail or in your yard, and come across a snake, first and foremost, you want to give it space. A snake will not attack unless given reason, and if left alone, will continue sunbathing or simply move along in the direction it was heading.
If you can, it’s smart to do a search on Google to see what kind of snake you are dealing with, especially if it’s in your yard or happens to be on a trail that you frequent. It’s always easier to coexist with snakes when you know more about them, and understand their preferred living places and eating habits.
It’s never wise to kill a snake, because not only can it be dangerous for you, but killing a snake actually damages the delicate balance of life in the ecosystem around us. Sometimes it is necessary to have a snake removed, when it’s near your home or frequently appears on your property, especially if you have children or pets or livestock. If you need to remove the snake, it’s best to call the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, and not attempt to do it yourself, especially if it’s a rattlesnake.
5 tips for avoiding snakes:
- Research local species and be aware of their preferred habitats and their appearances. Know what to look for.
- Never step or reach into an area you can’t see. Most snake bites occur when the creature is startled accidentally.
- Be alert, not only with your eyes, but with your ears. Snakes have a very distinct sound when moving through underbrush and across beds of dead leaves. And of course, be aware of what the rattle of a rattlesnake sounds like.
- If you do happen to cross paths with a snake, leave it alone and allow it to have its space. Snakes will respect you if you respect them.
- Keep in mind that snakes enjoy dark, hidden areas, but they also enjoy the sun, especially in the spring. Snakes are not as likely to be seen during the high heat of the day when temperatures are most oppressive, but they can often be found out in the open when mornings are cool and there are plenty of patches of warm sunshine.
Part of the beauty of Arizona is our diverse wildlife, and while snakes aren’t the most favorable, they’re part of the environment just like other animals, and deserve to be treated with respect.