Warmer Weather Brings Out Snakes Across Area - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Warmer Weather Brings Out Snakes Across Area

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"This is a Great Basin Gopher snake, probably the most common snake in the region. And a lot of people tend to mix this up with the rattlesnakes," says reptile expert John Potash.

Nevada is home to many different types of snakes. Chances are, if you run across a rattler anywhere north of Hawthorne, it's a Great Basin Rattlesnake. And even those can look different. "This one is a bit darker, more grey. This one, one might say is more yellow or green."

Snakes are coming out earlier this year because of the dry weather. And they're typically found along hiking trails and the edge of town -- near a water source, where their food is. "People are going to be telling us, 'Oh, there's more snakes than ever out there'. When in fact, there's not more snakes than ever. There are just snakes congregating because the food source is congregating," says Chris Healy Nevada Department of Wildlife.

If you do come across a coiled up snake and it's rattling -- it's warning you to back off. So that's exactly what you should do. "Snakes are very valuable in the ecosystem. They keep rodent populations down to acceptable levels. So, we don't need to be killing snakes. We need to be respecting snakes."

Pets can also be prone to rattlesnake bites. "A lot of people like to let their dogs run loose out in the back country. And that may not be a good idea because your curious dog might stick his nose somewhere where he shouldn't, and then suddenly, you get a dog bitten by a rattlesnake."

That's why it's best to keep them on leashes.

You can also enroll them in rattlesnake avoidance training classes. One way to keep snakes out of your yard is to build a barrier. "You would essentially put it up about three feet and then about a foot at a 45 degree angle at the top, so it kind of looks like this. That way if a snake comes to it and stops and goes up, it pushes them back," says Potash.

It's also a good idea to clear debris and brush off your property because that attracts rodents -- and those attract snakes.

Getting rid of any standing water can also help.

Written by Paul Nelson

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