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How to react if you come across a rattlesnake while hiking in Arizona

We spoke with the Venom Curator at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in Scottsdale.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — We want to help keep you safe with a warning for those of you going on hikes soon.

Snakes are becoming more active as the temperatures warm up! The good news, Team 12’s Matt Yurus reports there are safety tips to keep you on the mountain and out of the emergency room. 

“Rattlesnakes anywhere are most active and most likely to be out…from about 78 degrees on up to about 90 degrees when their most active,” said Joe Hymes, who is the Venom Curator at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in Scottsdale.

RELATED: Public serpents: Goodyear Fire Department gets 9 snake removal calls in one day

If you do encounter a rattlesnake on your favorite trail, Hymes recommends staying calm and staying three feet away.

“Even the biggest rattlesnakes in the state are only going to be able strike from about two feet, so if you’re three feet away, you’re at a safe range. And from there,” Hymes said, “just walk around them. Give them their space. They’re not going to chase you.”

If you encounter a rattlesnake slowly back away. The snake will likely try to get away from you.

To avoid them, watch your step, rattlesnakes are masters of camouflage.

MORE: How to tell the difference between a rattlesnake and gopher snake

At home, clear away debris and overgrown vegetation. This way there's nowhere for them to hide and find shade. Also, Burnett suggests putting snake fencing in your backyard.

RELATED: Video of pregnant Arizona woman picking up snake on road in flip flops goes viral

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, rehabilitating & preserving reptiles. Learn more about our sanctuary & how you can help!

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