OCTOBER 30, 2013

Beware of rattlesnakes this Halloween

Phoenix Herpetological Society provides advice on snake safety after several snake removal calls 
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rattlesnakeSCOTTSDALE – Trick-or-treaters should be aware that snakes are still active in the Valley this Halloween, thanks to continued mild daytime temperatures. It is important to remember that even though it is cooling off outside the snakes are still out there.

Phoenix Herpetological Society has had to remove snakes from Valley homes for several days now and even went on four rattlesnake removal calls this past Tuesday. The snakes will be fewer this time of year but it DOES NOT mean people can assume they are gone. PHS is cautioning people to be careful when they are out during all times of the day.

Don't walk or reach where you can't see, says Debbie Gibson, Vice President of Phoenix Herpetological Society. She says trick-or-treaters should carry flashlights with them so they can see where they are going, and avoid damp or rocky areas where snakes might be hiding.
If you do find a snake, slowly and carefully walk away and don't try to move it yourself. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of rattlesnake bites happen when homeowners try to deal with the snake themselves.

What to do if bitten by a rattlesnake:
• Keep the bitten area still. You can immobilize the area with an improvised splint made from a board, magazines, or other stiff material tied to the limb (but don't tie it too tight because you don't want to reduce blood flow).
• Remove any jewelry or constricting items near the affected area in case of swelling.
• Call 911 and stay calm.
• Elevate the extremity that's bitten.

• Drive yourself to the hospital.
• Use ice to cool the bite.
• Cut open the wound and try to suck out the venom.
• Use a tourniquet. This will cut off blood flow and the limb may be lost. 

At least 13 species of rattlesnakes and few other types of venomous snakes make their home in Arizona. However, far more non-venomous snakes are found in the state.

Phoenix Herpetological Society also wants people to understand that killing a snake or other reptile isn't the best way of dealing with these creatures. "Wildlife plays an important role in our world, adds Gibson. We can co-exist if we understand how."

For a fee, Phoenix Herpetological Society will remove a snake from your property.

Phoenix Herpetological Society (PHS) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of rescued reptiles and educating the public about living with these amazing creatures. PHS was founded in 2001, and operates a sanctuary on more than two acres of privately owned land in North Scottsdale. PHS is home to nearly 1,700 native and exotic reptiles, many of them endangered and participants in captive breeding repopulation programs.  The sanctuary offers unique opportunities to get close to and, in some cases, interact with snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises from the Desert Southwest and around the world.