Although Cooler, Rattlesnakes Moving - Tucson News Now

10/14/02

Although Cooler, Rattlesnakes Moving

By Som Lisaius, News 13

"So this is the piece of equipment that doesn't come off the truck year around." Northwest Fire District Captain Adam Goldberg is talking about the six-foot apparatus used exclusively for picking up and moving unwanted rattlesnakes. "As we handle the snake, they're still perceiving that as a threat," Goldberg says. "They're angry and they're striking." Which is why tending to rattlesnakes is a job that should be left only to professionals, Goldberg says. Granted, rattlesnake activity isn't as prevalent now as it is mid-summer. "But that doesn't mean they're not out there," says Goldberg, "We're still picking up probably a half-dozen snakes a day." That's about half the number reported in July. Then again, it only takes one to bite you. And it can happen when you least expect it. "We appreciate this weather," Goldberg says. "A lot of people are out walking...enjoying themselves and taking advantage of this time of year...and they're letting their guards down about the snakes." So what can you do to protect yourself and your family. Home Depot says purchasing quarter-inch mesh fencing sold at their stores everywhere is a start. Says Marana Assistant Store Manager Nick Morey, "Most people will put em' up against their fences or openings in fences to prevent the snakes from getting into their yards." In addition to looking for a warmer place to sleep, Goldberg says rattlesnakes are on the move due to all the construction around town. This forces some snakes into areas they wouldn't otherwise go, maybe even your own backyard. Says Goldberg, "If you see a snake, don't approach it. Don't approach it. Don't try to handle it yourself. Contact the appropriate authorities and let us deal with it in the appropriate fashion. That way nobody's gonna get bit. We've got the equipment. We've got the experience." Now if you're bitten by a rattlesnake, time is of the essence: rather than waiting for authorities to arrive, take the victim straight to the hospital. There are excellent anti-venoms available today, but rescue teams don't typically carry these with them. Most people are able to fully recover from a rattlesnake bite. Though effects can be worse--and even lethal--for some, especially small children and pets.

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