Dangerous snakes appearing in southern Nevada - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Dangerous snakes appearing in southern Nevada

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The weather is getting warmer. That means rattlesnake season has arrived in the Las Vegas valley.

The morning, evening and during the night is when rattlesnakes are typically most active.

A rattlesnake can strike fear well before it strikes with its fangs.

"Most definitely, because I'm petrified of snakes," said hiker Toni Sands.

Sands has seen the rattlers before. She and other hikers know this is about the time they start to come out - early spring and lasting well into late summer.

"One day, I heard a distinct maraca-like rattle about 20 feet away, and I just warned my friend to stay away from it - try to go around it," said Henderson resident Zachary Hampton.

"We do get a number of calls from people who have seen a snake, had a snake in their yard..." said Doug Nielsen, spokesman for Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Nielsen points out there is more than just one type of rattlesnake in southern Nevada.

There are actually five - the Mohave, Speckled and Western rattlesnakes - along with the Western Diamondback and Sidewinder.

The distinctive rattle usually gives them away.

"Watch where you're stepping. Watch where you're putting your hands. Watch where you're putting your seat, and that way you can take some steps to prevent an unpleasant experience," Nielsen said.

A bite can be fatal - especially for pets.

"Our associate - her dog was envenomated a year or so ago, so it does happen," said Dr. Terry Muratore, a veterinarian at Legacy Animal Hospital. "They're out there, and the more you're in the desert, you're going to run across them."

A $35 vaccine is available for dogs, which will buy them some precious time. But whether it is man or man's best friend, get to the hospital.

"[The vaccine's] goal is to increase survivability," said Dr. Muratore. "It is not a 100 percent preventative vaccine."

If you do find yourself bitten by a snake or discover one in your yard, the Department of Wildlife suggests you do not try to capture the reptile.

"If you can take a picture, that'll help the medical people determine what they're trying to treat for on a bite," Nielsen said.

If a venomous reptile is seen in an area where it poses a direct threat to human safety, call the Nevada Department of Wildlife's urban wildlife hotline at 702-486-5127.

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