Great Basin rattlesnakes should not be feared, just respected

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Source: CVDaily Feed
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LOGAN – With rising temperatures, rattlesnakes are starting to come out of hibernation. However, Stokes Nature Center Director of Education Andrea Liberatore says that rattlesnakes do not have to be feared as long as we act responsibly.

There are over 20 varieties of rattlesnakes in the United States but only one kind can be found in Northern Utah, the Great Basin rattlesnake. Luckily, the Great Basin rattlesnake is one of the least threatening and typically only strikes when it feels threatened.

“There are some aggressive rattlesnakes in this world and thankfully the one that lives here isn’t aggressive. It’s pretty docile. It will do its best to get away from you,” Liberatore said.

However, that doesn’t mean an encounter with a snake should not be taken seriously. A rattlesnake bite can be deadly but if the snakes are given their space and respected, they are not dangerous.

“A lot of times you hear it before you see it. These rattlesnakes that we have around here are great about letting you know that they are there,” said Liberatore.

She warned that if you ever hear a rattle, to first locate where the snake is before making movement. After locating the snake and backing away, Liberatore said you may either avoid the snake or watch it from a safe distance in its natural habitat.

“If you want to stay and observe it, do so,” Liberatore said. “I love being out on the trail with kids in summer camps  and coming across rattlesnakes. I think it’s great to teach kids that you can observe these animals from a safe distance.”

Liberatore also advised hikers on rocky and dry trails to wear long pants, heavy socks, and hiking boots that come above the ankle to prevent rattlesnake bites from occurring.

While Liberatore sees the snakes often, she laughed that she doesn’t have any scary stories since she knows how to deal with them.

“I see them all the time. I have opened the back door of the Nature Center and had a rattlesnake sitting right there.”

So while the snakes are venomous, they will only bite if they feel threatened. They fear humans more than humans fear them.

“Respect them. You’re in their home. They are a natural part of this environment,” Liberatore stated. “They’re great at catching mice and voles and all sorts of animals that are disease-carriers.”

For more information on rattlesnakes and other wild animals that reside in Utah, visit wildawareutah.org.