Living in the High Desert we deal with more than the insect pests. We also will see the occasional rattlesnake when hiking or even doing simple yard clean up in our back yard. The three most common that I have come across over the years are the Western Diamond Back, Black-tailed and the Mohave Rattlesnakes here in Yavapai county. Out hiking with your pets, be alert and use your senses. Around the home, use your common sense. The two main things a rattlesnake is seeking most of the time is food and shelter. Get rid of garbage, weeds, and brush piles that snakes and rodents could live in. That will make your property less attractive to snakes and their food source.
So what do you do if your pet encounters a snake? Well if they haven’t been bitten, try to remove yourself and the pet away from the area as quickly and safely as possible. Call either the Fire department or a local pest control operator to come help with the situation. If you can, after you have secured your pet away from the snake try to keep a eye on the snake from a safe distance to see if he moves off. There is nothing harder when we show up on the scene and the snake has changed locations and we don’t know where he went. By keeping the snake’s location known, it helps resolve the problem quickly and safely. Probably 80% of the time if we lose the snake’s location we never find the snake. They can move out of a area fairly quickly once disturbed. Remember they want to see you just about as much as you want to see them.
If your pet does get bitten, try to keep it calm and restrict its movement as much as possible without stressing the pet out. Call your Veterinarian ASAP and get your pet to them immediately. I recently had some really good friends and clients have their black lab, named Rhett, get bitten while out in the back yard at their Cornville home. Rhett was bitten on the paw by a small Western Diamondback and almost immediately started showing signs of distress. His owners acted quickly in calling the Vet and got Rhett settled down. They also noticed that Rhett was starting to run a fever so they tried to keep him cool while getting him to the Animal Hospital. This Vet did use anti-Venom on the dog to help reverse the effects of the Venom. I went to visit Rhett and his owners the next day and he was already getting that Labrador spark back in his eyes. So remember when living in the High Desert, we will encounter rattlesnakes from time to time. If you or a loved one (fury or not) gets bitten, seek medical attention immediately!