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In the warm deserts, rattlesnakes and scorpions are most active from March through October. In the spring snakes are active during daylight hours. As days become increasingly hot around early May, rattlesnakes become more active at night and spend the day in a spot of shade or a cool shelter. In addition to these periods of activity, rattlesnakes can be seen “basking” (lying out in the sun) during any month of the year. Rattlesnake colors and patterns allow them to blend with their surroundings so they often seem invisible. It is always best to look where you place your feet and hands. A flashlight should be carried at night, especially on warm nights when rattlesnakes are very active. Around your home, keep walkways clear of brush, as rattlesnakes on open ground are more visible. Keep walkways brightly lit and wear sturdy shoes.
Fortunately, when a rattlesnake is startled, usually its first defense is to warn you of its presence using its rattle. This encounter is always an exciting event. Though the inexperienced person may feel great fear, a little knowledge can turn one’s emotions to feelings of respect and perhaps appreciation! If you encounter a rattlesnake, keep in mind that once it senses you it will be just as nervous as you are. The snake has good reason to be afraid. By sheer size alone, you are much more of a threat to the snake than it is to you. Move slowly and deliberately when close to a rattlesnake and back away to a safe distance. Usually, the snake will either hold its ground or move away from you. The rattlesnake will not chase you. If the snake moves toward you, back away; it’s probably just trying to get to a secure location just behind where you were standing. Keep tabs on the location of any rattlesnake and alert people in the area to be cautious. Pets should be restrained until the snake moves on.
If you encounter a rattlesnake in your yard and do not wish it to be there, you have several options:
- Watch the snake. Most likely it’s just passing through, and you will not see it again.
- Call your local fire or Fish and Game department . Some departments remove
If you’re careful, the likelihood of a venomous snakebite occurring is low. If you avoid killing rattlesnakes you not only benefit the snake and the environment but also yourself. If rattlesnakes are left alone, the danger of being bitten is significantly reduced. Remember: more than half of all rattlesnake bites are provoked by the person bitten.
If a scorpion stings you or a family member, follow the suggestions below. Healthy adults may not need further treatment, and these tips can help keep children safe until they see a doctor:
- Clean the wound with mild soap and water.
- Apply a cool compress to the affected area. This may help reduce pain.
- Don't consume food or liquids if you're having difficulty swallowing.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed. You might try ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Children's Motrin, others) to help ease discomfort.
Check your or your child's vaccination records to be sure a tetanus vaccine is up to date.