Rattlesnake Safety Advice

Do you know what to do if you come across a rattlesnake in the wild? I got to talk with a Game, Fish and Parks expert to find out how to stay safe with the snakes.

Sometimes a tragedy can be a needed reminder for people. This week, that message is about rattlesnakes.

“Stay away from them. Leave them alone. You’re just putting yourself at risk by even getting close to them,” said Josh Delger, Terrestrial Resources Supervisor for Game, Fish and Parks.

Josh Delger works for Game, Fish and Parks. He says in South Dakota, we have what are called Prairie Rattlers. Typically they live west river and don’t like humans. In fact, they are the least aggressive rattlesnake of the species. But that doesn’t mean they won’t strike. 

“Where there’s grass, where they can be hidden. And a lot of times they might strike without giving any warnings. So they’re camouflaged, and you got to really watch out for them when you’re in rattlesnake territory,” said Delger. 

This can be a problem for pets and small children, who don’t know you shouldn’t rile up the reptile. So if one does attack, get medical help and try not to move too much.

“It’s not likely that anybody is going to die from a bite. It’s very uncommon for that to happen, but it can certainly do a lot of damage. The lower you can keep your heart rate, the less it’s going to affect how that venom acts in your body,” said Delger. 

There was a report earlier this week of a Texas man who cut off the head of a rattle snake and it still bit him! Delger says this can happen, so don’t try to kill them. Just stay away!

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