Skip to Main Content

Snakes – Knowing the basics can save lives

**Wildlife Pests Require a Wildlife Professional & are NOT Considered Pest Control – We are providing this information as a service to our customers and would be happy to refer you to a wildlife control company to further assist you. **

A creature of many peoples’ nightmares, snakes strike fear into thousands.  Furthermore, venomous snakes make those nightmares a reality for sometimes unsuspecting victims.  Knowing the snake species in your area as well as areas in which you travel is extremely important.  Colorado is home to 25 species of snakes, only 2 of which are venomous.  Western/Prairie rattlesnakes (along with their sub-species the midget-faced rattlesnake) and the massasauga are Colorado’s only venomous snakes.   The midget-faced rattlesnake and the massasauga, like all non-venomous snakes in Colorado are protected by state law; however, it is legal to use lethal control for rattlesnakes in order to protect life or property as long as local ordinances are followed.  All snake species play an important role in our ecosystems and unless they create a health hazard should be allowed to fill that role.  Snakes are predators to rodents, lizards and many insects as well as prey for predatory birds. In general, the best rule with snakes is to stay away from them, especially if you cannot positively identify them as being non-venomous.

Being victim to a rattlesnake bit is a scary situation in which it is extremely important to remain calm.  Panic increases heart rate and circulation of blood, causing any potential venom injected during the bite to spread.  While it is helpful to know the species of snake that inflicted the bite, it is no longer necessary in order to receive treatment.  Additionally, be aware that even a dead or decapitated rattlesnake is capable of inflicting a bite.  Until rigor mortis is complete, the snake’s heat sensory pits remain active.  A warm object of any kind including a hand or foot may generate a bite response.

Dos and Don’ts of Venomous Snake Bites:

  1. DO NOT make an incision into the bite wound.
  2. DO NOT attempt to suck out venom using your mouth as this can increase risk of infection.  Use of a venom extractor pump if available in an attempt to remove some of the venom is acceptable.
  3. DO NOT use a tourniquet in an attempt to keep venom from circulating.
  4. DO NOT wrap or pack bite wound area in ice.
  5. DO NOT attempt to kill or capture the snake that inflicted the bite, this can result in additional bites and wastes precious time between the bite and administration of treatment.
  6. DO remove all articles of jewelry or clothing that may cause complications with swelling from below the bite site.
  7. DO wash the wound with soap and water.
  8. DO immobilize the wound at or below heart level as quickly as possible.
  9. DO call ahead to the hospital so that they can be better prepared for your arrival.
  10. DO have another person operate the vehicle whenever possible.
Rattle Snake sunning itself on a gravel road south of Colorado Springs.
Rattle Snake sunning itself on a gravel road south of Colorado Springs.