YPG Safety: With the change of temperature comes the return of venomous critters
If you run across a snake in housing or on the range at YPG, and it is in a natural area, it will more than likely just slither off - if left un-provoked. But if it is at your home or at the park where it poses a risk to someone, then you should call 928-328-3005 for proper removal and relocation of the snake. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

As the temperature throughout Arizona begins to tick upwards this time of year, so too comes the return of venomous snakes, spiders, and scorpions.

“We have the most encounters with venomous snakes here in the spring because it is warm enough for them to be active in the day, but it is not so hot to force them to shelter where they are hidden,” said Daniel Steward, wildlife biologist at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG).

Arizona is home to 17 different types of rattlesnakes - all of them venomous. Five of those species live within the YPG boundaries.

Common species include Sidewinder, Diamondback, Mohave, and Specked rattlesnake. Blacktail Rattlesnake were recently discovered on the range, but they are extremely rare on this side of the state.

Regardless of species, safety is of the upmost importance for those working out on the ranges or even living in housing.

“The really important thing for our rattlers is to give them space because their main point of defense is camouflage and that is why they are always hidden.” Snakes tend to linger in brushy or shady areas, underneath piles of lumber or rocks, Steward shared. “In the rare event that you do get bit, it doesn’t matter what species you got bit by, just get to the hospital.”

Thankfully with modern medicine, fatalities from reptile bites are extremely rare. According to the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center the recent death rate has dropped to less than 1%. However, serious symptoms are possible, and any bite victim must be seen in a medical facility without delay.

“Everyone’s body reacts differently to venom so they can vary in severity, regardless get checked by a medical professional,” he said. “The new modern anti-venom works for all rattlesnakes.”

For the YPG personal who work downrange in areas where venomous critters are more likely to be lingering, proper personal protective equipment can help avoid a bite. Be situationally aware of your surroundings, watch where you put your hands and feet.

Bees or other stinging insects are very common in our area. Allergic reactions to stings can be very serious. Make sure to tell your coworkers if you have allergies to bee or other insect stings.

“If you are down range and are bit by a venomous creature let your work team know what’s happened, let range control know, and get yourself back as quickly as possible and safely,” Steward said.

Remember, all our wildlife serves an important ecological role and part of the stewardship responsibly we have for this range is to preserve this balance while we safely achieve our mission.

If you run across a snake in housing or on the range and it is in a natural area, it will more than likely just slither off - if left unprovoked. But if it is at your home or at the park where it poses a risk to someone, then you should call 928-328-3005 for proper removal and relocation of the snake.

That number operates Monday through Thursday 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If it is after hours, emergency services can assist and be reached at 928-328-2720.

For more information and resources pertaining to venomous snake, spider, and scorpion bites visit https://azpoison.com/venom and https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/livingwith/.