By May 11, 2017

Snake Safety 101: Leave ’em Alone

By Chris Prickett — I’ve never seen “Snakes on a Plane.” Not the movie, and not in real life. I have seen snakes in the wash, snakes by the pool filter, snakes under the garbage bin, and I often see snakes in the road.

I think snakes are cool. I also make it a point to leave them alone.

Every so often you’ll hear about a person getting bitten by a snake, and usually it’s a rattler. It’s always the human’s fault. That’s not to say that perfectly innocent people who get bitten had it coming. Snakes don’t hunt people. The snake is almost always defending itself when it bites. Occasionally, you surprise the snake and it reacts. Often though, it’s a case of “hold my beer and watch this.”

Snakes don’t want to mess with you and don’t want you messing with them. Of the estimated 250-300 snake bites a year in Arizona, the AZ Poison & Drug Information Center says half or more were due to the human harassing or trying to kill or capture the snake. A little common sense can save you from putting your loved ones through the coffin-shopping process.

Snakes are most active April through October. The hotter it is, the more likely they’ll be out at night… remember the whole “reptiles not being able to moderate their body temperature” thing you learned in middle school? If you see them out in the spring or fall, they’re usually just trying to warm up in the sun. Walk away slowly, they won’t chase you! Oh, and dead snakes can bite too. Isn’t that crazy? Their reflexes work for several hours after they’re dead.

Rattlers aren’t the only venomous snakes in Arizona. So, unless you’re trained in the identification and wrangling of snakes, just leave them all alone.

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Over the Prickett Fence is a column in In&Out Magazine.

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