The weather is warming up, waking rattlesnakes and other desert critters. Physical distancing guidelines are still in effect for humans, but these animals and especially rattlesnakes are not following Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order.
Whether residents are in their backyard or at Skyline Regional Park, 2600 N. Watson Road, the desert holds some hidden dangers along bike/walking paths, hiking trails and even around homes.
Knowing how to avoid a dangerous rattlesnake encounter – for individuals, families and pets – and what to do if someone is bitten can be the difference between life and death.
- Keep eyes open for rattlesnakes basking in the sun
- While hiking in the late afternoon or evening, remember to bring a flashlight to guide the way after the sun goes down (rattlesnakes are typically more active at night during the hot summer months)
- Always keep pets on a leash while hiking
- Pay attention to where you are walking and placing your hands
- Listen for their “rattle” warning
- Eliminate rodents from your property; they are a major food source for all types of snakes
- Cover drainage holes with a ¼-inch hardwire screen
- Perimeter walls and fences around your property should be solid, a minimum of four-feet high, with no holes or areas for them to tunnel underneath
If a rattlesnake bites you:
- Call 9-1-1 and seek medical assistance immediately
- Remain calm and decrease movement, if possible
- Remove all jewelry from the affected area
- Immobilize the bite area and keep it below your heart
- Never apply ice, cut the bite area, use a tourniquet or administer drugs or alcohol
Download a rattlesnake fact sheet from the Arizona Game and Fish department website.
Anyone encountering a rattlesnake on their property should contact Buckeye’s non-emergency line at 623-349-6499 for proper removal.