Be warned – rattlesnakes are starting to emerge around Colorado and they’ll stand their ground if threatened, able to deliver a potentially deadly bite.

According to a report written by R. Scott Rappold for Alamosa’s Valley Courier, a man was bitten by a rattlesnake in the San Luis Valley near Del Norte on April 25. The bite occurred while Tres Binkley, 35 of Texas, was running on Lookout Mountain. This man survived, but you can read about how intense the recovery is from a bite like this in Rappold’s full in-depth report here.

While this attack wasn’t deadly, bites from rattlesnakes often are if not quickly treated. For instance, a 31-year-old man died after a bite sustained in Golden in 2017. According to the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, approximately 20 to 30 bites are reported in Colorado each year.

Rattlesnakes can be found in many regions around Colorado with the western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) being most common. This variety of rattlesnake can appear in “most habitats throughout the state,” according to Colorado State University. The less common Massasauga variety is typically only found in the southeastern grasslands of Colorado.

While it’s easiest to spot a rattler after it shakes its tail, it’s important to remember that this warning signal doesn’t always occur.

Here are a few tips that will help you avoid getting bitten by a rattlesnake:

  1. If you see a rattlesnake, don’t disturb it, even if it’s motionless. Keep your distance.
  2. Wear boots and long pants while hiking in areas where you may encounter a snake.
  3. Stay on the trail while hiking. You’re less likely to spot a snake lurking in the tall grass.
  4. Beware of snakes when moving natural items like sticks, logs, or rocks. Rattlesnakes tend to seek shelter beneath these items.

If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, seek medical attention immediately. According to UC Davis Health, you should avoid using ice, using a tourniquet-style device, and trying to remove the venom. They also state that it’s important to remain calm and to keep the bitten extremity below heart level.

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