Montana Reptile Rescue offers advice for handling snakes in the summer

Posted at 3:26 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 17:26:22-04

The hot, dry weather has allowed people to get outdoors to hike, do yard work, or enjoy other activities, which can sometimes lead to discovering snakes.

Jeremy Allestad, owner of the Montana Reptile Rescue, said he’s been busy so far this season removing snakes from people’s yards. He’s had over 1,000 calls since the beginning of the year.

Allestad said that while it’s unlikely to see a rattlesnake while hiking, it’s important to keep an eye out.

“An area underneath a rock where you might have a divot in where something can hide. Usually, it’s unlikely to come across them on the trail unless its early morning or late afternoon and they’ll just go on their way,” said Allestad.

But if you do encounter a rattlesnake, remain calm.

“If you do end up in a position where you feel you’re endangered or threatened, the best thing to do is to make a look of your surroundings and then back up slowly. Identify an escape route, don’t run, don’t panic, because it’s always the worst thing to do.”

Most of the time when you hear a rattle, it’s just to alert you that a snake is there.

“The rattlesnakes just want to run,” said Allestad. “They don’t want to fight, they just want to get away. That rattle isn’t an intimidation factor, it’s to tell you, ‘Hey, I’m here.’”

If you get bit by a rattlesnake, Allestad said to call 9-1-1 immediately. He added to never cut circulation to the bite because you don’t want the venom to stay in one spot. He said to also try to remain calm and steady your breathing so it slows blood flow.

Another snake commonly mistaken for a rattlesnake is a bullsnake.

“Rattlesnakes have more fatter, you know, cat-eyes where bullsnakes don’t. They look more like a garter snake and then obviously the tail.”

Bullsnakes like to stay against buildings and coil up in the warm sunlight, and while a bullsnake bite is rare, it can happen.

“You can get bit by a bullsnake, just clean it. It’s kind of like any other animal that bites you out in the wild. You just want to clean it, make sure it’s not infected. It’s unlikely, but it can happen.”

Another common snake to see in a flowerbed or yard is a garter snake. They can help keep insects and rodents out of your garden.

If you find a snake in your yard or on your property and you want it removed, you can call 406-750-8663.


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