City Cast

Keep Safe From Rattlers — On the Trail, and at Home

Scott Dickensheets
Scott Dickensheets
Posted on June 27
Photo of rattlesnake caution sign

One might even advise extreme caution. (Gunter Marx Photography/Getty)

It’s rattlesnake season now through Octoberish — out on the hiking trails, yes, but also in our neighborhoods, yards, even our houses. And why not? Coyotes and mountain lions have (🎧) famously been flocking to town recently. Venomous snakes need to keep cool, and human environments offer “shaded yards, garages, or covered patios,” says the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Here are some things to keep in mind, courtesy of NDOW.

🥾 On the Trail:

Don’t trust pop culture — rattlesnakes don’t always rattle before striking. They don’t always strike after they rattle, either. But when they do, “rattlesnakes are capable of lunging at least 2/3 of their body length.”

So be aware of where your feet are going, no matter how fascinating the trail chatter is; step on top of rocks, not over them, where snakes might lurk.

Keep your dog on a 6-foot leash, and don’t let it indulge its curiosity about burrows and rock crevices. If you hike with your dog a lot, consider rattlesnake-avoidance training.

If you do encounter a rattler, give it space. It wants to get away rather than attack.

🌴 In Your Yard:

Don’t be blasé about the possibility of snakes in your backyard. “They are agile climbers and climb cinder block walls or other solid fences with ease,” NDOW warns.

Keep your plants trimmed and grounds clean to give snakes less cover.

Don’t let seeds build up under your bird feeder; that attracts small rodents that attract snakes.

🏠 In Your (Gulp) House:

In the exceedingly rare instance that you encounter a rattler in your house, call NDOW immediately, and, if possible, don’t take your eyes off of it, not even to post it on Instagram. NDOW’s website also advises this: “If you can safely do so, please place a trash can over the snake …”

Um, no.

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