Hiding Easter eggs? Local sanctuary offers tips to avoid pesky snakes

Western Diamondback rattlesnake. (Photo by Phoenix Herpetological Society)

Western Diamondback rattlesnake. (Photo by Phoenix Herpetological Society)

If you’re having an Easter Egg hunt this weekend, be aware that rattlesnakes may like the same hiding spots you are planning to stash those eggs.

With the warm weather, snakes have been very active lately. The Phoenix Herpetological Society reports it is receiving multiple calls to remove snakes.

PHS is offering a workshop this Saturday to help residents “Learn to Live with the Desert.” The workshops are for individuals and organizations and teach desert safety and conservation techniques.

The event is 9 a.m. Saturday, April 4 at the PHS sanctuary in north Scottsdale. Cost is $20 per person.

PHS is offering some safety tips to avoid incidents with snakes that could spoil your Easter Egg hunt:

· 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, such as under plants with drip systems, during the day, so those areas should be off limits.

· Instead, hide eggs off the ground, such as in tall flower pots or hanging baskets, and on decks or outdoor furniture

· If you do find a snake, walk away and don’t try to move it yourself. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of rattlesnake bites happen when homeowners try to deal with the snake themselves.

What to do if bitten by a rattlesnake:

· Call 911 and stay calm.

· Keep the bitten area still. You can immobilize the area with an improvised splint made from a board, magazines, or other stiff material tied to the limb (but don’t tie it too tight because you don’t want to reduce blood flow). Remove any jewelry or constricting items near the affected area in case of swelling.

· Elevate the extremity that’s bitten.

Do not:

· Drive yourself to the hospital.

· Use ice to cool the bite.

· Cut open the wound and try to suck out the venom.

·  Use a tourniquet. This will cut off blood flow and the limb may be lost.

· Bring the snake or a photo of the snake with you to the hospital; all rattlesnake bites are treated with the same antivenin so identification of the snake is not necessary.

At least 13 species of rattlesnakes and a few other types of venomous snakes make their home in Arizona. However, far more non-venomous snakes are found in the state.

Phoenix Herpetological Society 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,” says Russ Johnson, president of Phoenix Herpetological Society.

“We can co-exist if we understand them better.”

For a fee, the Phoenix Herpetological Society will humanely remove a snake from your property. Call 602-550-1090.

For more information about Phoenix Herpetological Society, call 602-513-HERP (4377), or go to www.phoenixherp.com.

Phoenix Herpetological Society is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of rescued reptiles and educating the public about living with these amazing creatures.

PHS was founded in 2001, and operates a sanctuary on more than two acres of privately owned land in north Scottsdale.
PHS is home to nearly 1,700 native and exotic reptiles, many of them endangered and participants in captive breeding re-population programs.

The sanctuary offers unique opportunities to get close to and, in some cases, interact with snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises from the Desert Southwest and around the world.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.