Rattlesnake season is off to an early start

Rattlesnake season is off to an early start
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - With temperatures rising above average throughout southern Arizona, rattlesnakes are coming out earlier than usual.

"When they come out of hibernation, they're mean, they're nasty, they're hungry and that's all they want," said Mark Hammond, one of the owners of Animal Experts Inc.

Hammond said they've already gone out to seven rattlesnake calls this week. That number is triple what they usual see this time of year.

In fact, Hammond said he's never seen a rattlesnake season quite like this in his 35 years of work with wildlife.

"This is the first winter where we've actually seen them coming out actually in January and February and I think a lot of it has to do with we've just had record hot days," Hammond said.

They're showing up in garages, by front doors, and in backyards, like in the case of Paul Reyes.

Reyes, who lives on the northwest side, said a day of pest control turned into rattlesnake removal.

"We had our exterminator out today taking care of some termites in the house and in he backyard he actually ended up finding two rattlesnakes back there," Reyes said.

They were found under the AC unit, not too far from their back door.

"It's really scary to think about because we've got the little one running around and two dogs that are also running around back there," Reyes said.

Reyes covered up the hole they think the snakes came in from but they're not taking any chances.

"We're going to reach out to rattlesnake solutions who's going to come out and actually end up putting a snake fence around the yard," He said.

What else can you do to avoid a painful and costly run in with rattlesnakes?

Hammond said stomp your feet. Snakes are deaf but they can feel vibration.

"It'll alert them. And usually what they'll do is they'll start rattling because what the rattle is saying is I'm here, I'm here. I don't want to bite you," Reyes said.

Also, make sure your feet and ankles are covered when you're outdoors. Rattlesnakes strike straight ahead, so you're more likely to be bitten on your ankles and feet.

Rattlesnake avoidance training, which is offered at various places, can help your dog learn to spot a rattlesnake.

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona offers rattlesnake avoidance training. You can find more information here:

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