Rattlesnakes spotted at Garden of the Gods: How to stay safe when hiking

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - With temperatures soaring above 90 and no storms in sight, it's a perfect day to get outside.

It's also a perfect day to bump into one of these guys:

Meteorologist Lucy Bergemann ran into two rattlesnakes just meters away from the main parking lot at Garden of the Gods. In the comments on her Facebook video, 11 News viewers reported weekend sightings at Pulpit Rock and in the area of Drennan and Marksheffel.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, snakes are most active between April and October, so it's safe to say a warm August day is peak season for rattlesnakes to be joining us on our favorite trails.

The USDA says rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive, but if threatened or provoked will strike.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers the following tips to protect yourself from a dangerous run-in with a snake:

- Rattlesnakes like to hide. Snakes do not like to interact with humans or other animals. If the snake coils up and rattles, this is your cue to back away slowly – even backing up a few feet will put the snake at ease. Most rattlesnakes will not strike unless they feel threatened or are provoked in some way.
- Do not touch any snake. Ever. Even though most Colorado snakes are not venomous, all snakes do have teeth and will bite.
- Watch your feet and hands. Most people experience snake bites on the hands. Don’t hike in tall grass where you cannot see where you are planting your feet. If you are on a rocky trail or an area with downed trees, be aware of what is on the other side of a rock or tree. Move slowly. Use a walking stick. Invest in a pair of snake-proof boots or high-top hiking boots to protect feet and ankles. Do not listen to music while hiking or working outside. Be aware of your surroundings, and listen for a snake’s warning rattle.
- If you are out with dogs, keep them close. Man’s best friend is curious by nature. Snakes are defensive by nature. When hiking, keep dogs on a short leash. Though controversial, some veterinarians will administer a rattlesnake vaccine. Speak to your vet for recommendations. If your dog is bitten, seek veterinary treatment immediately.
- If you are bitten by a snake, remain calm and seek medical attention. Odds are the snake is not venomous. Still, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Do not cut the bite open or try to suck out the venom. If you have cell phone service, call in advance so the medical facility can be prepared with the appropriate treatment.

More information can be found here: Rattlesnake Management: Colorado Parks and Wildlife