Rattlesnake safety is essential if you live or spend time in Colorado, especially in the foothills! Unfortunately, our dogs often encounter rattlesnakes. It is natural for them to inspect and sniff out new smells!
It is best to keep your dog on leash while hiking or walking in the foothills. This can prevent an unpleasant rattlesnake encounter.
Prevention is key here: rattlesnakes are an essential part of the Colorado ecosystem so it is extremely important to learn how to keep yourself and your pets safe while letting the snake be happy and healthy in its natural habitat.
Accidents do happen, so here’s what to look for while inspecting your dog for a rattlesnake bite and what to do if it gets bitten!
Signs that your dog was bitten by a rattlesnake:
If your pup gets bitten:
Though we are lucky to be living near wildlife, it can be scary and unpredictable to come into contact with animals, especially rattlesnakes. It can also feel extremely devastating to watch your beloved dog get hurt.
Remember to breathe, to be proactive rather than reactive. Keep your dog on a leash. Stay safe and enjoy nature!
What to do if you encounter a rattlesnake while hiking
Imagine this- you are hiking in the foothills, your earbuds are in and your favorite summertime jam just came on! Your dog is ecstatic to be outside and is running circles around you. Basically, your day so far, is perfect!
Then, you hear your dog barking up a storm. Something is not right. You pull out your earbuds and start running towards your pup. Low and behold, there’s a snake, basking in the sun, right in the middle of the trail.
You can’t quite tell if it’s a rattlesnake; you’re a bit too far from it and besides the rattle, you’re not really sure what to look for. Panic slowly sets in and your dog is now inches away from the snake’s head still barking and seemingly wound up.
This does not have to be you.
There are a number of simple things you can do in order to better protect you and your loved ones from a rattlesnake encounter while hiking.
We have compiled a list of simple things to do before and during your hike in order to stay safe on our beautiful Colorado trails!
Preparing for your hike:
During your hike:
If you see a snake:
There are many ways to tell a rattlesnake apart from other types of snakes. We will certainly cover those ways in our later blogs. However, we recommend using the above practices for ALL snakes that you encounter in Colorado, just in case!
Prairie Rattlesnakes are the only type of venomous snake species in Colorado. However, just because you don’t see a rattle, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Many people make mistakes when faced with a wildlife encounter.
Follow the simple rules above, stay safe, and most importantly… enjoy nature!
Photos by No Coast Photography
Adaptation Environmental Team: Bryon, Joe, and Kelly