What to do if you see a snake.

On a recent ride of Fantasy Island, I came upon a rattlesnake eating a rabbit right on the trail. Speaking with the next couple of mountain bikers to come along, I realized that rattlesnake common sense isn’t so common. So here are a few tips.
 In most cases the human is the aggressor when a snake bites. Do not poke at a snake or try to catch them. If you are going to photograph them use your zoom. Do not handle any wild animals.

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If it is not rattling, from a safe distance, you may want to observe and identify the snake.  One major distinguishing factor is the rattle located at the end of the tail on a rattlesnake. By identifying this rattle, you have in turn identified a rattlesnake.

Know what time of year you are most likely to run into a rattlesnake and where. These snakes usually hibernate during the cold months and are extremely active during the spring and summer months.
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Dress appropriately. Boots are the best  if you will be spending a large amount of time in the desert.  Long sleeve shirts and pants are also necessary for a trip into the woods. 
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Be aware when in an area rattlesnakes may make their home. Stay on trail. Look before stepping over a log or rock. Do not stick your hands anywhere you can’t clearly see, do not sit on a log or stump without checking first, and always hike or enter the woods with a buddy, or let someone know where you’ll be and when  you should be back.
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Obey warnings. If you hear a rattlesnake’s rattler, you are too close and the snake is attempting to warn you. Immediately retreat from the area.
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Stay calm if you encounter a rattlesnake make a quick check of your surroundings, you don’t want to run directly into the snake or a cholla, and move away from the snake slowly. Keep in mind the striking distance of the snake, they can strike nearly the same length as their body. When moving away from a rattlesnake, the safest thing to do is move in the opposite direction the snake is moving in.

Randy Young, Southwest Trekking Guide

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