Arizona residents will have to keep an eye out for some scaly creatures slithering around. The recent warm weather in Arizona is causing some scaly snakes to come out of hibernation to soak up some warm sun. Daniel Marchand, from the Phoenix Herpetological Society said that snakes do not work off of a calendar and that they are all about temperature. Marchand also said that the minute Arizona hit 80 degrees, snakes are going to know it. When they come out they will be ready to go and will be hungry. The Arizona Fish and Game Department reports that Arizona has 52 species of snakes and 13 of them are rattlesnakes.
Nate Deason, who is also part of the Phoenix Herpetological Society, said that snakes get a little bit curious and that people need to keep an eye out for snakes. Deason also says that people know to listen for the rattle of a rattlesnake in the desert but they might not know that snakes can also be found in resident’s backyards. He says that people should look out on the sides of their houses, in plants and anywhere snakes could hide. He says that if people see a snake they should turn around and walk the opposite way.
Debbie Gibson, the vice president of the Herpetological Society, says that the key to staying safe around snakes is for people to watch their step and avoid reaching into areas where they cannot see what they are touching. Gibson continues by saying that most snake bites occur when people are doing yard work in the early morning or late in the evening when snakes are hiding in bushes or near sprinkler systems. Adam Goldberg, the captain for the Northwest Fire District in Tuscan, Arizona, says that homeowners can decrease the likely hood of snakes if they reduce the environment for snakes. He said that if snakes are welcomed by water and large amounts of debris, which attract pack rats or field mice it will possibly increase the potential for a snake to live in a person’s backyard. Goldberg also mentions that if people take walks at dusk or the early evening they should bring a flashlight. Now that the Arizona weather is causing snakes to come out, people should also take a few steps ahead of themselves and that even though it is great weather, sandals and flip-flops are shoes that are just asking for a bite on the leg.
Deason explains that everything in the reptile world is based on temperature and that rattlesnakes are no different. He also said that gopher snakes and other things that are in the valley are cruising around to see what is going on. When the temperature rises, Deason explains, snakes are going to come out. If people do get bit by a snake, the Phoenix Herpetological Society recommends they should call 911 and elevate the bite area. People should also stay calm and not try to drive themselves to the hospital. They should also not place a tourniquet around the bite, cut open the bite and try to suck out the venom or apply ice to the bite.
Snakes are slithering out into the heat after temperatures in Arizona soared into the 80s. The Arizona weather is causing snakes to come out because the reptile world is based on temperature and snakes know when the weather is warm. If people want to avoid a run in with a snake they should watch their step, and be aware that snakes can live in backyards not just deserts. They should keep their backyards clear of debris and water so they do not attract snakes. When people are doing yard work, they should be careful in snake friendly areas such as around the sides of houses, in plants and anywhere else a snake could hide. If a snake bites a person, the Herpetological Society recommends they should call 911, stay calm and elevate the bite. They should not apply ice to the bite, cut the bite and try to suck out the venom or tie a tourniquet around it. Gibson explains that wildlife plays a major role in everyone’s world and we are encroaching on their homes. However, Gibson says we can coexist if we learn how.
By Jordan Bonte