(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story may have misidentified the type of rattesnake spotted at Prineville Reservoir. We are working to confirm.)
The approaching summer has brought warmer weather and rattlesnakes.
One of the latest sightings in Central Oregon came Monday. Austin Squier shared video on Facebook of a rattlesnake at Prineville Reservoir, slithering around a popular path with people nearby.
It’s no secret they slither all around the High Desert. Molly Honea, Development and Communications Coordinator for Think Wild, says not to panic if you find yourself face-to-fang with one.
“They are pretty shy by nature. They aren’t going to generally seek you out or try to attack you. Usually once they’re aware of your presence, they’ll try to get away from people. They’ll generally only attack if they’re cornered or threatened in some way,” Honea said.
They usually reside in dry, rocky outcrops. They’ll emerge from the crevasses to hunt or sunbathe, absorbing the sun’s energy.
“A lot of times, rattlesnake injuries and bites are on hands as people try to reach out for that friendly snake that turns out not to be so friendly,” Honea said.
Fortunately, rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal.
“Nationwide, only about 8,000 people are bitten by rattlesnakes, and only about 10 are fatal,” Honea said. “That’s because rattlesnake venom is one of the more common things people come across and are bitten by. Rattlesnake anti-venom is really common in most hospitals and it’s really easy to produce.”
Honea says people should not kill the snakes, either. The reptiles are important for the ecosystem, including rodent control.