Rattlesnake season comes early due to warm Arizona temps

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Due to the recent, record-breaking temperatures in Arizona, the snakes are coming out early. 

Golder Ranch Fire District received 10 snake calls in January, 12 in February and had 32 in March. 

2016 also had warm weather with 76 percent above-average temperatures. So far, March 2017 is 90 percent above average.

Fire Captain, Cameron Hendrix believes the heat may be to blame for the recent increase in snakes. He says, "The Weather's warm. They're starting to come out." 

According to Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, five people have been treated for snake bites this year in Arizona, in comparison to three bites at this time in 2016 (Maricopa County excluded). Three of the five people treated in 2017 were bitten in Tucson. So, what should you do to prevent yourself from getting too close to a rattlesnake? Hendrix says, "When you go outside, especially in the early mornings or evenings, just have a pair of shoes on, look around, maybe have a flashlight." If you need a snake removed, Hendrix says you can call 9-1-1 for a non-emergent call. If you are bitten, Golder Ranch Fire District suggests you stay calm, call 9-1-1 and remove anything that may constrict swelling, such as jewelry. 

Pet owners should take extra precautions to protect their furry friends. Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, Head Veterinarian at Pima Animal Care Center says that there are three big steps to prevent your dog from being bit. She suggests keeping your dog on a leash, not letting your dog near bushes and ground holes, and enrolling your dog in rattlesnake avoidance training. 

Dr. Vanya Moreno is a local animal behaviorist at Animal Magnetism. Her client, Alice Nealon believes strongly in this training, after her former pet was killed by a snake. She says, "It's one of the most hideous deaths I've ever witnessed. I am a nurse, and I would never want to go through that experience again." If your dog is bitten, get your pet to an emergency vet as soon as possible.

UPDATE:

After we originally ran this story we received some amazing video of a sidewinder from one of our viewers and enjoyed a spirited conversation on Facebook about snakes in general, where even more video was shared.

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