Wildlife officials caution that summer means rattlesnakes in Utah

State wildlife officials are offering some advice to Utahns who may encounter a rattlesnake this summer. Photo courtesy U.S. National Park Service

<span>SALT LAKE CITY – State wildlife officials are offering some advice to Utahans who may encounter a rattlesnake this summer. </span>

<span>Krissy Wilson, native aquatic species program coordinator at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says this is the time of year when snakes leave hibernation and move around in search of food.</span>

<span>”So, the snakes that you see this time of year are the males that are dispersing from hibernation,” she explains. “So, they have three goals in mind: one is shelter, two is food and three is breeding.”</span>

<span>Wilson adds that rattlesnakes are a valuable part of the ecosystem because they help control rodent populations. </span>

<span>She cautions though, that when you are hiking in foothills or other outdoor areas, you are entering the snake’s territory.</span>

<span>She says there are more and more rattlesnake encounters each year because cities have expanded onto what has historically been the snake’s turf.</span>

<span>”The first thing we say is have respect, stay back,” she advises. “Get 5, 10 feet away, and observe what it is. </span>

<span>”But then don’t harass it, leave it, and most likely it is going to pass through and you won’t see it again.”</span>

<span>Wilson adds that when walking your dog try to keep an eye on what the dog is investigating. </span>

<span>She says dogs often get bitten by a snake because they put their nose in the wrong place. </span>

<span>Wilson says a person or animal bitten by a rattlesnake should receive medical attention as soon as possible.</span>

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