How to Avoid Unwanted Encounters with Rattlesnakes in Colorado

How to Avoid Unwanted Encounters with Rattlesnakes in Colorado

Rattlesnakes are a common sight in Colorado, with the most prevalent species being the Western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis). They inhabit various habitats ranging from grasslands to rocky areas, including the foothills and mountains. Rattlesnakes are venomous pit vipers, identifiable by their distinct rattling sound produced by their tails when threatened.

When it comes to rattlesnakes in Colorado, awareness is key for safety. The best way to avoid dangerous encounters with any wildlife is awareness and avoidance. Always be aware of your surroundings using your eyes and ears, and avoid wildlife that you see or hear. Watch for snakes basking in open, sunny areas such as pavements, rocks, trails or roads. It is acceptable to walk off trail to avoid them. 

A basic understanding of the biology and behavior of rattlesnakes can help you avoid unwanted encounters. Rattlesnakes often warm themselves in the sun, hunt, migrate and den in the same areas year after year. 

While encounters are possible, rattlesnakes typically avoid humans if given the chance.  Most of the time, rattlesnakes will not strike at people unless they feel threatened or are deliberately provoked. However, caution is advised when hiking or exploring the outdoors, as their venom can be dangerous.  While attacks on people are rare and usually not fatal for a healthy adult, bites are very painful and should always be taken seriously. Bites can have an increased effect on children and pets due to their smaller size.

In the event of a snakebite, seek medical attention immediately.  According to the Colorado Poison Center, if bitten by a rattlesnake you should:

  • 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.

By staying aware of your surroundings and understanding rattlesnake behavior, you can safely enjoy the outdoors in Colorado.

For more detailed information about how to keep you and your pets safe from rattlesnakes CLICK HERE

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