Snakes Active During Warmer Weather

There’s a common saying: the best way to avoid a snakebite is to avoid the snake.

That motto is a good one to adhere to this time of year in southern New Mexico. As springtime temperatures warm, snakes emerge from their brumation and are more likely to cross paths with people and pets.

The Las Cruces police and fire departments are providing safety tips to help avoid snake encounters and potential serious injury:

• Snakes don’t always give a warning before striking. Make noise when working, hiking or playing outdoors. Snakes are more likely to slither away than remain in our presence.

• Step on rocks, branches and fallen logs when hiking and not over them. Snakes sometimes use elevated surroundings for protection.

• Wear appropriate gloves, footwear, and leg-covering for the activity you’re engaged in.

• Do not put hands or feet where you cannot see.

• Before allowing children or pets outdoors, survey the area for snakes.

• If you see a snake nearby, avoid approaching and allow it to leave.

• If you hear rattles, from a rattlesnake, stop immediately and visually locate the snake before making any sudden moves.

• Slowly move away from the snake.

• Do not antagonize a snake by throwing rocks or waving a stick at it. Many bites occur when people provoke or antagonize snakes.

• When hiking or climbing, be sure you can clearly see the area where your feet and hands are about to be placed.

• If you are bitten, distance yourself from the snake, remain calm and immediately remove jewelry and watches from the part of your body near where the injury occurred.

• Do not cut, suck, tourniquet, ice or shock a snakebite injury. Too many snakebite “remedies” have caused more harm than good.

• Immediately seek medical attention after a bite.

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