Wyoming Rattlesnake Encounters Increase As Weather Warms
As the weather warms up, the rattlers come out. The Prairie Rattlesnake is most common rattler found in Wyoming, and they've started making appearances to spread across the landscape and warm themselves in the summer sun. Officials say the Casper area is a prime location for the snakes.
"There are a lot of dens just at the base of the mountain where we have a lot of folks that live, as well as north of town," says Janet Milek, Public Relations Specialist for Wyoming Game and Fish. "We have a lot of fantastic rock piles that they can den in, a lot of really good habitat and so as Casper continues to expand outward we need to remember that we will be encroaching upon those areas and people need to be aware of them."
Milek says there are a few things you should keep in mind during snake season, including staying very alert and listening to the sounds around you, always looking down, and being aware of the situation around you. "Instead of stepping over a log, step on top of the log and kind of look over and jump beyond it. Don't stick your hands or face in locations that might not be safe."
She says don't wear sandals when out on a hike, but instead wear hiking boots and jeans or gaiters. If you have your dog along, it's smart to keep it on a leash. "Because dogs are often the first things that are bit because they're usually out in front of us, and they can encounter the snakes first," advises Milek. Some veterinarians offer rattlesnake venom vaccine for dogs.
She also warns that the time people are mostly likely to be bitten is when they go back to kill the snake.
"Whether you shoot it, you're trying to chop it's head off with a shovel, whether you're trying to chase it away, those are the situations when people usually get in danger. And so our number one message is just leave it alone, walk away, get the heck out of there as fast as you can, and don't return for a little while."
If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, Milek says you should call 9-1-1 immediately and get to the hospital as fast as you can.