Rattlesnake spotted by hikers on Emerald Mountain earlier this week
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — On July 3, a few hikers spotted a rattlesnake about 4 feet long on the lower section of Emerald Mountain going up the Blackmere Trailhead and near the Mile Run single track trail.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf, rattlesnakes are not prevalent in the area but have been spotted. More recently, it could be the result from the dry, arid weather that the serpents are making an appearance.
“In those lower country areas, I would imagine snakes are there because the temperatures are good for them, and they regulate their temperature by being in the sun and don’t want to get too hot or too cold,” said Middledorf.
They are typically seen in areas like Sleeping Giant (Elk Mountain) and a few ranches in North Routt County near Clark and the Elk River corridor.
In Colorado, nearly all species of snakes are not only harmless but beneficial to humans because of their appetites for insects and rodents. According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s guide to amphibians and reptiles of Colorado, the venomous snakes in Colorado are the prairie or massasauga rattlesnake.
Limited by elevation and temperature, these venomous rattlesnakes are typically found in cliff and rocky areas or tall grass. These snakes have the ability to sense a human’s presence by body heat and movement. If a rattlesnake is spotted or you can hear its warning rattle, avoid it at all costs.
“Let them have their space,” Middledorf said. “They have no reason but to bite for defense.”
He also recommended having dogs on a leash especially with the warmer temperatures.
Most importantly, don’t panic. If spotted, go the other way. If bitten, seek medical attention immediately and avoid increasing heart rate if possible.
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