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Rattle Snakes

Facts about Rattle Snakes

  • All rattle snakes are dangerous.
  • Rattle snakes are masters of camouflage and can remain unseen even in open areas such as on rocks beds and around bushes.
  • Baby rattle snakes can be more dangerous than adult snakes because:
    • Babies can get into small places where you don't easily see them.
    • They don't always rattle and when they do their rattle can be very faint.
    • They will strike multiple times.

Where Rattle Snakes are Found

  • Snakes need warmth from the sun to drive their metabolisms. In open space areas, they will be found on roads, rock beds, shore lines of lakes and any place that allows them to soak up heat from the sun. 
  • They like your landscaping: bushes, grass, rock beds, under concrete porches, under decks, any low growing vegetation
    • Because the Candelas and Leyden Rock areas have many water features, residents in these areas should be extra diligent, as snakes like to hunt for prey around water sources, and they need a water source for drinking.

What to Do and Where to Go if a Rattle Snake Bites

Bites happen fast. The teeth of rattle snakes are like hypodermic needles, and if a baby snake bites you, you may not even feel the hit until you see the venom begin to take effect (inflammation, swelling, discoloration).

Treatment for Humans:

  • Stay calm and breathe deeply.
  • Apply First Aid:
    • Keep area bitten below your heart (if bitten on torso or lower limbs, elevate the upper body; if bitten on upper arms, neck or head, elevate the lower body).
    • Take a pen or marker and circle the bite and mark the time you drew the outline, continue this through out the time while getting to a physician. Observation is key to knowing how fast the venom is moving and how much anti venom you will need.  
    • Apply a cold compress to the wound, this will slow the spread of the venom and its effects
  • Get to the hospital immediately.
  • Call animal services to remove the snake. Do not touch the snake. If someone is with you, have them remain in the area where you were bitten so that animal services can locate the snake, catch and examine it, and determine if it needs to be relocated.
  • DO NOT use a tourniquet. If not properly applied it can do more damage to the area.
  • DO NOT cut the wound open or attempt to suck out the venom.

Treatment Locations for Humans:

  • Lutheran Medical ER 8300 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033; open 24 hours (anti-venom on hand) 
  • Centura Health 16320 W. 64th Ave. Arvada, CO; open 24 hours (anti-venom on hand) 

UC Health free-standing clinics do not carry anti-venom on hand and would require transport to an anti-venom location. If transported by ambulance you will be taken to Lutheran ER.

Treatment for Pets:

  • Try to calm your pet
  • Apply a cold compress to the wound
  • Observe the bite wound and if possible mark area and take time so vet can gauge how much anti-venom is needed
  • Remember this bite will become inflamed and will start to turn colors as the venom takes effect. With animals, bites to the face are most concerning as respiration is going to be the biggest thing impacted from the inflammation and swelling that will start.  
  • Get to the nearest vet listed that keeps anti venom on-hand 

Contact your vet and ask their advice for treatment locations. 

How to Be Safe Living Among Rattle Snakes

  • Educate yourself and your children on what to look and listen for.
  • Whenever you go outside, in your yard or the trails near you, do a quick sweep of the ground, rocks, etc.
  • Whenever you are hiking in areas where rattle snakes are known to be, carry a small first aid kit.
  • If you see a rattle snake or a snake you suspect may be a rattler, contact Arvada Animal Management through PD dispatch at 720-898-6900.