1st rattlesnake of the season spotted on popular Tri-Cities trail. How to stay safe

·2 min read

The Benton County parks department has received its first report of the year of a rattlesnake on Badger Mountain in Richland.

But it likely won’t be the last report of the year of a rattlesnake spotted in a Benton County, Wash. park.

The department usually hears about one or two sightings a year of rattlesnakes just from Badger Mountain’s hiking trails.

The recent report was on the Badger Skyline Trail.

But park visitors also may see rattlesnakes at Candy Mountain near West Richland, Hover Park in Finley and Horn Rapids Park on the Yakima River.

“Our parks also function as nature reserves,” Benton County’s parks department posted on Facebook. “Please do not harass or harm rattlesnakes or any other wildlife in the parks.”

Dogs must be on leash at all times, it said.

Rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive, but they will strike when they are threatened or deliberately provoked, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Still, about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year, with 10 to 15 deaths resulting.

Watch out for rattlesnakes on Tri-City area trails.
Watch out for rattlesnakes on Tri-City area trails.

To avoid rattlesnake bites, do not approach any snake you cannot positively identify as a safe species, says the USDA.

If you hear a warning rattle, move away and don’t make any sudden movements in the snake’s direction. However, rattlesnakes do not always rattle before they strike.

If you get bitten, don’t try to suck the poison out with your mouth, apply a tourniquet, make a cut by the wound or ice the wound.

Instead, call 911 or go to a hospital or clinic as soon as possible, says the USDA.

Until the bite is treated, immobilize the affected area and keep it below the heart, if possible. Remove any jewelry, such as a watch or ring, that could constrict swelling.

Dogs bitten by rattlesnakes also need emergency veterinary care.