Rattlesnakes in Colorado? Two dogs have already been bitten in 2019 | VailDaily.com

Rattlesnakes in Colorado? Two dogs have already been bitten in 2019

John Meyer, The Denver Post
A large prairie rattlesnake assumes it’s defensive position.
Photo by Kirk W. Davidson/Special to The Denver Post

Rattlesnake season has arrived along the Front Range with two rattlers striking dogs over the weekend in Jefferson County Open Space areas and another pit viper frightening hikers at Mount Falcon Park on Saturday, coiled and ready to strike at the edge of a trail.

The remains of another snake was seen on a highway near Mount Falcon.

“Snakes are just looking for a warm place to be this cool spring,” said Mary Ann Bonnell, visitor services manager for Jeffco Open Space, who has been studying rattlesnakes for two decades. “And with warmer temperatures, we’re starting to see them come out. We’re starting to see them seek good basking spots, and that just happens to be where we’re walking and driving. It’s a really good time to be paying attention and know you may encounter a rattlesnake, a bull snake, a garter snake on a sunny, exposed area.”’

The rattler on the trail at Mount Falcon spent at least 30 minutes at the edge of the trail, coiled and shaking its rattler. Some hikers said it seemed injured, but Bonnell said it might simply have been holding its ground because it was agitated.

“If people try to poke at it with a walking stick or throw rocks or spray water on it, sometimes they will coil and they’re not going to move,” Bonnell said. “They get into a defensive position and they’re not necessarily going to vacate at that point. They’ve sort of decided, ‘This is a dangerous situation, I’m going to get ready to strike and hold my ground.’ If somebody sees a snake and they immediately give it space and don’t do things to harass it like throw rocks or prod at it, a lot of times that snake will leave the area and not take up that defensive posture of sitting right next to the trail.”

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