Watch Out For Snakes: Important Safety Tips For Hiking And Biking In Utah
National Serpent Day is on Feb. 1 and Utah is no stranger to snakes.
It’s almost time in Southern Utah to do hikes, bike riding, and outdoor activities but, you need to watch out for rattlers...and the snakes attached to them.
These cold-blooded, slithery locals will start to come out and about soaking up the sun this time of year so there’s a far greater chance of seeing them on the trails. Though it’s best to just leave ANY snake you see alone, there are seven that you definitely will want to avoid.
Utah is home to 31 types of snakes according to a Utah State University document. Rattlesnakes are non-game and under the protection of the Utah State Law, Wild Aware Utah said. So, don’t try and take any slithery friends home unless you have a Certificate of Registration from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The 7 Utah Snakes to Avoid:
- Speckled Rattlesnake
- Mojave Rattlesnake
- Western Rattlesnake
- Hopi Rattlesnake
- Midget-faded Rattlesnake
- Great Basin Rattlesnake
These seven are VENOMOUS snakes and if the proper measures aren’t taken, a bite could result in a fatality. Here is what the Utah DWR recommends you do if encounter a rattlesnake:
- Remain calm and do not panic. Stay at least 5 feet from the snake. Make sure to give it plenty of space.
- Do not try to kill the snake. Doing so is illegal and greatly increases the chance the snake will bite you.
- Do not throw anything at the snake, like rocks or sticks. Rattlesnakes may respond to this by moving toward the person doing the throwing, rather than away from them.
- Alert other people to the snake's location. Advise them to use caution and to respect the snake. Keep children and pets away from the area.
- Keep your dog on a leash when hiking or camping. Allowing your dog to roam around increases the chance the dog will find a snake and get bitten.
- If you hear a rattle, don't jump or panic. Try to locate where the sound is coming from before trying to move, so you don't step closer to the snake or on top of it.
If you somehow miss the rattlesnake and have the unfortunate luck to be bit, there are steps to take that can help. Wild Aware Utah says to treat ALL snake bites as venomous.
Make sure to not use a tourniquet or a cold compress on the wound and please for the love of all things holy, DONT SUCK OUT THE VENOM!!! Keep yourself (or whoever was bit) calm, take off anything that might be restricting like clothing or jewelry, and keep the injured area below the level of the heart. Also, don’t be walking around, that increases venom circulation.
Slither Through Some of the Snakes You'll Find in Colorado
Gallery Credit: Wes Adams