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Living with Snakes - The Do's and Dont's of Snake Country

Living with Snakes - The Do's and Dont's of Snake Country

Sidewinder

 

First, know that rattlesnakes are not confined to rural areas. They have been found near urban areas, in river or lakeside parks, and at golf courses. Be aware that startled rattlesnakes may not rattle before striking defensively. There are several safety measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of startling a rattlesnake.

• Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas. Wear hiking boots.

• When hiking, stick to well-used trails and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.

• Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.

• Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.

• Be careful when stepping over the doorstep as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.

• Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.

• Do not handle a freshly killed snake, it can still inject venom.

• Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.

 

Keeping snakes out of the yard

The best protection against rattlesnakes in the yard is a “rattlesnake proof” fence. It can be expensive and requires maintenance, however. The fence should either be solid or with mesh no larger than one-quarter inch. It should be at least three feet high with the bottom buried a few inches in the ground. Slanting your snake fence outward about a 30-degree angle will help. Vegetation should be kept away from the fence since the snake could crawl to the top of an adjacent tree or shrub. Discourage snakes by removing piles of boards or rocks around the home. Use caution when removing those piles - there may already be a snake there. Encouraging and protecting natural competitors like gopher snakes, kingsnakes and racers will reduce the rattlesnake population in the immediate area. And, kingsnakes actually kill and eat rattlesnakes.

 

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Last modified: 8/16/2010 9:56 AM by C. Arbagey

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