Rattlesnake Tips and Safety

If you’re a hiker in Arizona, then chances are you have or will eventually see a rattlesnake while hiking. I know I’ve had a few encounters and it was a shocking experience. Luckily, I had some knowledge of what to do and it helped me remained calm during the encounter. So, hopefully these tips will help you if you ever encounter a rattlesnake.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

First thing, I just need to say that rattlesnakes want to be left alone. If you see one please do not try to approach. Stop where you are at and then back up. The snake will understand that you are not a threat and it will move on. People typically get bit when they try messing with the snake to either move it or to kill it. There’s never a good reason to do this, just let the snake be and it’ll get out of your way.

Typically the times to see a rattlesnake will be during the months of April to October, and they do come out more at night.

Now, let’s just say you didn’t see that snake and now you’ve been bitten! Now what? Well, below are some tips for how to handle being bit by a rattlesnake:

  • Get away from the snake as soon as possible, the snake can bite again if it still feels threatened.
  • Look at the snake and pay attention to the size and color – this information will be important to tell the ambulance responders.
  • Stay calm.
  • If you panic, it increases your heartrate, which then spreads the venom faster in your body.
  • It’s rare that a bite will be lethal, so know that you chances are you are going to survive this (as long as you seek medical attention).
  • Call 911 you as soon as possible.
    • If you don’t have reception on the trail, calmly hike back to your car and drive to an area with reception.
  • Do not use a tourniquet. Your immune system will actually begin fighting off the venom, so for this reason you don’t want to stop the blood flow, but you want to slow the flow.
  • Do not elevate your legs. This will just send the venom to your heart faster.


  1. Every time I hear a rattlesnake “sizzle”….my blood turns into ice water. 🙂

    I see one, maybe two, per year.

    I saw one last Tuesday (19 Dec) basking in warm spot while I was running along dry wash. So, they don’t completely hide in cold weather. We kept our distance… 🙂

      1. This is the first time I’ve ever seen any snake this late in the year. I’m pretty certain it was a young diamondback rattlesnake.

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