SCOTTSDALE, Ariz — Valley residents and tourists alike, watch where you step! Two people have been bitten by rattlesnakes while hiking on Valley trails in just the last week. We spoke to experts like Dan Marchand at the Phoenix Herpetological Society about how to spot a snake and what actions to take if you come across one.
Marchand handled a 4-foot rattlesnake that is venomous to demonstrate.
"It's now feeling a little threatened wants me to leave it alone. Obviously, its only defense is to bite me," he said.
Marchand says that's the best way to protect yourself is to step away from the snake. Do not try to go near it.
"If you see a snake, avoid it, warn other hikers or tell them if it's under a rock or off the trail," he said.
It's advice the two bite victims could've used.
A woman hiking Gateway Trail in Scottsdale had to be rescued when a snake struck on Tuesday morning. She was alert and responsive before she was taken to a hospital.
And over the weekend, crews helped a 77-year old man from a hiking trail and took him to a hospital when he was bitten.
"Typically, younger children with small body mass are more vulnerable, but elderly people could have a heart attack. Elderly and children are the two most at risk if bitten," he added.
Sky 12 captured the rescue as Scottsdale Fire Crews worked to bring the woman down from Gateway Trail. Experts added what to do if you get bitten.
"No tourniquets, be sure to hold your arm over your head, if you get bit on the hand, to keep blood flowing – you want venom to dilute – and of course, get to the hospital immediately," he said.
While snakes usually like warmer weather, they live in the desert year-round, so exercise extreme caution or it really could cost you.
"A hospital visit could start around $200,000 for treatment," he said.
Just be careful where you step and if you decide to stay and hang out for a while on a trail thoroughly check the area before you sit down.