Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary offers rattlesnake safety tips

(Photo courtesy of Phoenix Herpetological Society)

With temperatures warming again next week and snake-removal calls increasing, Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary offered advice for those planning Easter egg hunt: Be aware rattlesnakes may like the same hiding spots as those eggs.

PHS — which provides a wide variety of education and conservation programs, a press release states — is offering safety tips to avoid incidents with snakes:

•Don’t hide eggs on the ground where children will have to reach where they can’t see. That includes under bushes and rocks, behind flower pots, or under pool toys.

•Snakes especially like to curl up in shady damp areas during the day, such as under plants with drip systems, so those areas should be off limits.

•Hide eggs off the ground, such as in tall flower pots or hanging baskets, and on decks or outdoor furniture

•If someone does find a snake, walk away and don’t try to move it. An estimated 80% to 90% of rattlesnake bites happen when homeowners try to deal with the snake themselves.

If a rattlesnake does bite someone, people should call 911 and stay calm; keep the bitten area still; remove any jewelry or constricting items near the affected area in case of swelling; and elevate the extremity that’s bitten.

PHS also recommends bitten people not drive themselves to the hospital; not use ice to cool the bite; not cut open the wound and suck out the venom; use a tourniquet; and bring the snake or a picture of it to the hospital.

At least 13 species of rattlesnakes and a few other species of venomous reptiles make their home in Arizona, according to a release. Far more non-venomous snakes, however, are found in the state.

Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary also wants people to understand that killing a snake or other reptile isn’t the best way of dealing with these creatures. “Wildlife plays an important role in our world,” Russ Johnson, president of PHS, said in a prepared statement. “We can co-exist if we understand them better.”

For a small fee, PHS will humanely remove and relocate a snake from your property. Those interested can call at 602-550-1090.

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