Rattlesnake encounters are on the rise in Colorado

Be aware along the trail. According to officials, there are two times of the year when rattlesnake encounters dramatically increase. One is early in the season when the snakes first emerge from their winter dens, the other is the heat of the summer. But first, some facts to consider; each year in the US approximately 8,000 to 10,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes. Those include rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins, and others. However, less than 1% will actually die from the bite.

The main reason for the increase in bites is the heat itself. Snakes are cold-blooded and enjoy the warmth but the heat of the day is too hot. Trail temperatures can reach  well above 125 degrees. Snakes can't handle that. They can’t sweat. They can't cool off. When it's extremely warm, they seek cover under a rock, under some brush, tucked away under a slab of concrete. Later in the day when it cools, they emerge to hunt and of course, the evening is when hiking and jogging increases because it's more comfortable for humans and they cross paths, literally.

If you are bitten try and remain calm. Stop what you're doing and sit down. If you are bitten somewhere below your heart, that’s better than your head or neck area. Remember the more you move around and get your blood pumping, you’re pumping venom through your body. Call for help and remain still. Have help come to you. Don't hesitate to call 911.

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