Warm temps bring rattlesnakes out early this year

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Warm temps bring rattlesnakes out early this year

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Mar 30, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Hearing that distinct rattle can only mean one thing, and Capt. Adam Goldberg with Northwest Fire says a lot of you have had recent run-ins with those desert dwellers.

"It's a matter of hearing these calls come out one after the other after the other and think we're really only in March," he said.

Officially, rattlesnake season starts in April, but Goldberg says they've seen a large increase in the past two weeks of rattlesnake related calls.

"It comes directly back to the high temperatures that we're seeing sustained in the high 80's," he said. "It's warming up and the snakes are coming out looking for food."

According to the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, 10 people have been treated for rattlesnake bites so far this year, compared to just three by this time last year.

An official with the center says an early season doesn't always mean a busy season, but regardless, it's time to start looking out for those rowdy rattlers.

Capt. Goldberg says your best bet is to stay aware and watch your step. He says bring a flashlight in the evenings and don't reach into shrubs or bushes without testing with a tool first.

"If you're using your hand first, you're going to get bit," he said.

If you see a snake, Goldberg says stay away. Don't try to pick it up and if it presents a hazard to you or the public, call 911.

Rikki Mitchell

Rikki Mitchell

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Rikki Mitchell is a proud University of Arizona grad and joined the KGUN9 team after graduation. Rikki reports for the evening newscasts.