Prairie Post (East Edition)

Warm weather brings Prairie Rattlesnak­es out of hibernatio­n

- Contribute­d

With the arrival of warmer weather, the prairie rattlesnak­e will soon emerge from hibernatio­n and become more active. Snakes on a Plain is pleased to announce rattlesnak­e safety training classes are now available to the public. The experienti­al one-day course will be offered on April 30 and on May 13, featuring both a classroom and a field component.

Prairie rattlesnak­es can be common in some parts of southern Alberta and in isolated locations in southwest Saskatchew­an. During spring emergence, prairie rattlesnak­es (and other local snake species) will spend the days basking to rev up their metabolism­s before dispersing for the summer.

While prairie rattlesnak­es are an important part of the local ecosystem, their venomous bite can be dangerous. As such, it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of snake encounters when engaging in outdoor activities. To safely enjoy the outdoors during snake season, the public is advised to follow these safety tips:

1. Wear protective clothing, such as long pants and closed-toe shoes when hiking or walking in areas where snakes may be present. Footwear that covers the ankles is a good idea, as is using a trekking pole when exploring.

2. Stay on designated trails and avoid tall grass, rocky outcroppin­gs, and other areas where snakes may be basking or congregati­ng.

3. Keep a safe, respectful distance from any snakes that are encountere­d. Never attempt to handle or capture a snake. It is illegal to capture, harass or harm wild snakes.

4. Keep pets on a leash and under close supervisio­n when in snake habitat.

5. Keep in mind that not all rattlesnak­es can or will rattle, and that other local species such as the bullsnake may mimic rattlesnak­e behaviour.

In the event of a snakebite, seek medical attention immediatel­y. Do not attempt to treat the bite yourself, as this can lead to serious complicati­ons. Our local rattlesnak­es are an important part of the local ecosystem and play a valuable role in controllin­g rodent population­s. By taking the proper precaution­s, the public can safely coexist with these fascinatin­g and important creatures.

If a rattlesnak­e is in danger or trapped in a residentia­l yard, please contact local bylaw. If local bylaw is not available, Snakes on a Plain is permitted by the Alberta government to safely capture and relocate rattlesnak­es. This service is provided to local residents at no charge.

For more informatio­n on prairie rattlesnak­es or rattlesnak­e safety training, please visit­lain or www.snakesonap­

Snakes on a Plain is a local company based out of Redcliff, Alberta that is dedicated to the conservati­on of Alberta’s snake species. Offering relocation services, safety instructio­n, biological surveys, as well as environmen­tal consulting, management and monitoring, Snakes on a Plain is Alberta’s one-stop-shop for snake support.

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