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.
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:
- make sure your cell phone is charged in case you need to call for help
- bring closed- toe shoes to wear on the trail
During your hike:
- keep one ear bud out so that you can hear any disturbances
- stay on the trail
- keep your dog on leash
- watch where you are placing your feet and your hands. It is easy to get distracted looking at a text message or looking up at the sky. Be aware of your surroundings
If you see a snake:
- do not attempt to pick it up to move it, rattlesnake or not
- give it time and space to move away from you
- keep your dog close to you
- if it does not move, carefully walk around it, giving the snake at least five feet of clearance.
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!