TEXAS (OCN) — It was a sad day for the rattlesnake family, the time had come for the children to strike out on their own.
So what are rattlesnakes? Rattlesnakes are a group of venomous snakes, genera Crotalus and Sistrurus. They belong to the subfamily of venomous snakes known commonly as pit vipers.
Different species of rattlesnake vary significantly in size, territory, markings, and temperament. If the rattlesnake is not cornered or imminently threatened, it will usually attempt to flee from encounters with humans, but will not always do so. Bites often occur when humans startle the snake or provoke it.
Those bitten while provoking rattlesnakes have usually underestimated the range (roughly two-thirds of its total length) and speed with which a coiled snake can strike (literally faster than the human eye can follow). Heavy boots and long pants reinforced with leather or canvas are recommended for hikers in areas known to harbor rattlesnakes.
Guides are available through booksellers, libraries, and local conservation and wildlife management agencies that aid hikers and campers in identifying rattlesnakes. The advice given is to avoid contact with rattlesnakes by remaining observant and not approaching the animals.
Hikers are advised to be particularly careful when negotiating fallen logs or boulders and when near rocky outcroppings and ledges where rattlesnakes may be hiding or sunning themselves. However, snakes will occasionally sun themselves in the middle of a trail, so such areas are not the only places where they are encountered.
When encountering a rattlesnake on a trail, hikers are advised to keep their distance and allow the snake room to retreat.