Drought's Impact on Snakes
Rattlesnakes are common in Northern Nevada - and as the temperatures heat up, they'll start coming out. The lack of water could play a role in where you might run into these reptiles.
Thursday, April 16th 2015, 4:53 pm PDT by
Monday, November 20th 2017, 6:09 am PST
The sound of a rattler is something most people would like to avoid. But as the days get warmer, snakes will be out more, soaking up the sun.
"Snakes are a part of the landscape here. No matter what kind of year you're having. Whether it would be a drought year, whether it's a year that's very wet,” says Chris Healy with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Healy says there won't necessarily be more snakes, this year. They will just be more concentrated. "There's no water out there and there's no much green-up. So, the places that do have water and do have green-up will have the food source heading towards there. So, the snakes will follow."
That means people who head outdoors shouldn't be surprised to see snakes in these areas. And they should also take precautions with their pets. "We've been getting reports, already, from the last month, of people encountering snakes and we've already heard of three dogs that have been bitten by rattlesnakes in the last month in Northern California and Northern Nevada,” says John Potash of Get Rattled.
Two dogs we met went through rattlesnake avoidance training last year wearing shock collars while passing by two different rattlesnakes. For the most part, they remembered their lesson from a year ago.
Other dogs we met on Thursday are training for the first time. When they pick up their scent, they get zapped - teaching them to stay away from the snakes. "As soon as they heard, saw, or smelled the snakes, they reacted. And that can be either just stopping, not letting me take them into the snake or when AI get them on my right or left side, I want them to switch sides,” says Willie Stevens of German Shorthaired Pointer Club.
If you come across a rattlesnake experts say just to leave them alone and keep on moving. And trained dogs should do the same. "If a dog avoids an area, makes a wide berth around it, it tells you that there's probably a snake in that area."
The German Shorthaired Pointer Club will put on its first rattlesnake avoidance training of this year on May 16 at the Ironwood Stables on Pyramid Way. To sign up, call 741-3069. The dogs first training costs $70 -- and a second one will cost $50.