Friday, August 11, 2006

Snake talk

(Bull snake, top, prairie rattler, bottom)

They're here! Well, they never really left, but rattlesnakes have been making appearances in the region lately. Rattlers have been seen near Cave of the Winds and at Waldo Canyon. They're also known to inhabit Bluestem Prairie Open Space and Ute Valley Park. Area residents have also been seeing bull snakes, that have a talent for pretending to be rattlers. Like rattlers, bull snakes will coil and even shake their tails, but they have no rattles so the effect is less dramatic.
Watch for snakes when you hike, and follow these tips from the Colorado Division of Wildlife:
1. Stay on established trails. When you cross logs or large rocks, watch for snakes before you put your foot down.
2. If you encounter a snake, even a small one, leave it alone. You're not on the Animal Planet. Most snake bites result from people trying to handle a snake.
3. If you meet a snake, give it room to escape.
4. If you aren’t sure if the snake you meet is a rattler, assume it is.

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