Summer is quickly approaching, and one of the first signs of summer is the return of snakes.
“Once we start hitting that 80-degree mark basically the desert starts to awaken again for the season,” said Daniel Marchand, curator at the Phoenix Herpetological Society.
Spring is the time for snakes, and they are looking for three things.
"They are coming out because of the warm temperatures, they are coming out because of the rain they want a drink of water, and it’s also mating season,” said Marchand.
As the Valley of the Sun moves from winter, to spring, to summer, the time frame at which snakes are most active changes, said Marchand.
“This time of the year, 12 o’clock to 5 or 6 o’clock when it’s nice and warm and the temperature is right, they will be quite active.” However, in the summer, “not many of the reptiles like to move when it is 110 degrees, so they’ll come out when the sun goes down.”
If you think your house will never see snakes, think again.
“We find snakes everywhere in the state of Arizona," Marchand said.
The highest chance of having snakes in your yard is if you live within two miles of any area that has desert landscape. If you find a snake in your yard and want it removed it is highly recommended that you call professionals.
“Seven out of 10 people that try to remove a rattlesnake without experience or proper equipment are often bit,” said Marchand.
While out hiking, there are some simple steps to follow.
“Stay on the trails! The trails are packed down from the foot traffic -- the snakes don’t blend in as well,” said Marchand.
But if you happen to run across a snake, remember: “A third of their body length is their strike distance. So all you have to do if you are on a trail and at the last second, you happen to see something you stop and literally just calmly as best you can take one step away from the snake and then wait for the snake to go on its way or if it’s off to the side just go around is and leave it alone,” said Marchand.
There is also a different trick you can use ONLY in Arizona that will help you determine if a snake is venomous.
“In Arizona, it’s simple: If you can see the snake and the head of the snake is large and the neck behind the snake is smaller, that in the state of Arizona is going to be a venomous species,” said Marchand.
No matter what, the key to remember is that “they do not want to strike us! They do not want to come after us and attack us. They just want to be left alone,” said Marchand.