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Hiking in Douglas County? Remember, we live with wildlife. A few tips can help you stay safe.

Posted on July 10, 2023 2023DC OutdoorsNews and Events


Did you know rattlesnakes are commonly found in many of Douglas County’s Open Spaces and hiking areas? There’s no cause for concern if you understand how you, your family and your pets can coexist with rattlesnakes in common spaces.

Information and tips about living among rattlesnakes courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Why are people bitten and what is the result?
Rattlesnakes have an elaborate defensive strategy, seeking to avoid the need for a venomous bite if possible. Most of the time, rattlesnakes will not strike at people unless they feel threatened or are deliberately provoked.

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.

Ecology and Behavior
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.

Awareness and Avoidance
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.

What to do if a snake is encountered
If an encounter with a snake is unavoidable, take these precautions to stay safe:

Keeping your pets safe
The best way to keep your pets safe from rattlesnakes is to keep them on a six-foot leash as required on most public lands in Colorado. Dogs are known to be very curious animals that ignore a snake’s defensive posturing.

If you live in an area where rattlesnakes are common and must let your pets outside, try to eliminate rock piles or grassy areas that could harbor snakes or common prey. Do a quick patrol of the area before letting your pets roam free.

Many dog training facilities in Colorado offer snake avoidance training for dogs, teaching them to avoid the sight, scent and sound of a snake.

A rattlesnake bite can have an increased effect on pets due to their small size. In the event of a bite, seek immediate veterinary attention and call the clinic ahead of time. Do not attempt to kill or catch the snake for identification.

What to do if a human is bitten by a rattlesnake
According to the Colorado Poison Center, if bitten by a rattlesnake you should:

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