The weather is warming up which is great for hiking but it means that rattlesnakes can be out too. Rattlesnakes need temperatures to be above 65 degrees Fahrenheit to come out of their brumation or hibernation dens. The most common time for rattlesnakes to be out is mid-morning to early afternoon when the sun is the warmest. They can be anywhere on the trail, just off the trail or on rocks wherever they get some sun. The nicest time during the day to be out hiking is also the most likely time to run across a rattlesnake.
Rattlesnakes live in many different habitats throughout the United States. They can live in rocky cliff areas or sandy deserts. They are also found in wooded areas and the grasslands. They can survive at any elevation between sea level and 11000 feet. Basically rattlesnakes live any many different areas including all over Nevada. If you are hiking in Nevada there is a good chance you are hiking in a rattlesnake’s neighborhood.
Avoiding rattlesnakes is the best thing to stay safe when hiking. For the most part snakes do not want to encounter humans they will do their best to avoid you. The best thing to do is leave them alone, if you encounter a snake back off and they will leave. Stay on trails and avoid tall grass or other areas off the trail. Look for snakes before you pick anything up like rocks or wood and before you reach up onto a rock face. Whenever possible hike with someone else in case there is an emergency with a snake. Finally, where good boots above the ankle and long pants to lessen the chance of the snake getting to your skin. These are a few things that you can do while hiking to avoid snakes in their environment.
If you are hiking with your dog it is important to get them snake trained to save them but will also help you avoid snakes. Trainers teach dogs to avoid snakes all together by positive reinforcement to stay away from snakes. These trainers are able to teach dogs to avoid snakes through smell, sight, movement and sound. If you are dog is trained and he should be, there is a great chance you will not encounter a snake because your partner will let you know before you even get to the snake. Having your canine companion trained will pay benefits for both of you when in the rattlesnake’s backyard.
Unfortunately, if a rattlesnake bites your dog it will probably be deadly and at least very expensive. If a rattlesnake bites you or someone in your party get to the hospital immediately. Do not try to suck the venom out, put ice or a tourniquet near the bite. Do not run and keep the bite area below the heart. Get medical attention immediately and if possible get a picture of the snake to show to the medical staff. This is why it is so important to hike with someone especially if you are in snake country.
Enjoy the weather as it warms up but watch out for those slippery-shouldered fellas.