Snake Season Has Begun

Warming springtime temperatures throughout southern and central Arizona welcome reptiles to emerge from their winter brumation. They’re out in abundance right now, and you can expect to see an impressive variety of lizards and snakes while on the Arizona Trail.

Obviously, one of the biggest concerns is rattlesnakes. These pit vipers are active during both day and night (depending on temperature) and while they’ll do anything to avoid human interaction they are certainly a creature you want to stay away from. Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of being bitten:

  • hike with trekking poles — the poles striking the ground send shock waves the snakes can feel from a distance.
  • hike or run with a friend — if something unfortunate occurs, one person can go for help.
  • don’t listen to music while on the trail — rattlesnakes will almost always buzz their tails as a warning before striking, and it’s hard to hear the, if you’re listening to music with earbuds or through an external speaker.
  • watch your footing and learn to recognize the shape of a coiled up snake (kinda’ like a giant camouflaged cinnamon roll) as well as an elongated reptile (commonly mistaken for a root or stick across the trail). Rattlesnakes almost always stop moving when you approach them since camouflage is their first line of defense.
  • keep your dog leashed so they’re easier to control if a snake is encountered.

Check out the Hiker’s Safety Tips online from our friends at Rattlesnake Solutions.

Bites to trail users are rare, but they do happen. Be prepared with the knowledge of what to do in advance of your outing.