Mary Ann Bonnell had a hunch that warm temperatures this past Sunday could result in a rattlesnake sighting on North Table Mountain. It didn’t take long for the feeling to be confirmed.
Bonnell, who is the customer services director for Jefferson County Open Space, has analyzed rattlesnakes for two decades. Lots of Jeffco Open Space parks are located in prime rattlesnake land. Provided a series of warm days each week — and also the near-record high temperatures that were called for the weekend — Bonnell led for North Table on Sunday anticipating rattlesnake action.
“I was on patrol, and I was passed by a route runner North Table Mountain Loop,” Bonnell stated. “She turned and stopped and said, ‘Hey, did you understand that there ’s rattlesnake people are visiting up in addition to the mesa? It’s approximately 6 feet off the road. ’ When she reported it to me, I realised that theyrsquo;re out. ”
It’s not too early for #rattlesnakes! Traffic reporting a sighting just off the road @ North Table Mtn today. Warm temps = ideal basking #cowx. Keep away from conflict. Keep pets leashed, keep #oneearbudout. & stay on track. Make #safe. Not sorry. pic.twitter.com/xkyZzXgOry
— Mary Ann (@JCOSRanger1) April 4, 2021
Rattlesnake season actually begins in early May, but sightings aren’t even uncommon this season. Being chilly, rattlesnakes spend the majority of the cold weather months in their dens with greatly depressed metabolisms. When warm spring weather arrives, they start to emerge to bask in sunlight, which warms their own bodies out of the winter torpor.
“I could ’t even get to a rattlesnake’s thoughts, but I want to believe I can,” Bonnell stated. “It sounded to me as if we’d had sufficient warm days in a row where we wouldn’t merely have basking immediately beside the wintering den, we might have a rattlesnake venturing a bit further off. That why Sunday felt like a day once we may find a rattlesnake where visitors could be, rather than being tucked away close to some hibernation den. ”
Prime rattlesnake land from the Front Range is situated where the plains meet the mountains, which means hogback ridges and the initial foothills immediately west of metro locations. Including North Table Mountain, South Table Mountain, Apex Park, Mount Falcon Park, Dinosaur Ridge, Matthews/Winters Park, Red Rocks Park, Deer Creek Canyon Park, South Valley Park and Roxborough State Park.
At this time of the year, Bonnell saidthat encounters are likely to happen early in the afternoon. That’therefore because nights are still cool, therefore rattlesnakes look to bask in sunlight in the morning.
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“Snakes prevent people,” Bonnell stated. “It’therefore first runners of the day that are going to encounter these snakes basking on the road. It doesn’t mean you can’t even rush to a snake at the center of the road in the center of the day, it’therefore only less probable because snakes prevent people, they prevent dogs. I give extra caution to this early morning hiker, initial route runner. If it’s been a cold night, and it’s going to be a nice toasty bright warm afternoon, you’t have to be game . You’t have to be paying attention to what your surroundings are. ”
Conversley, from the warmth of summer rattlesnakes seek the cover of color as it’s too hot for them to be in sunlight. Sometimes hikers and mountain bikers come back to their automobiles and locate a scary surprise waiting for them.
“I could ’t even let you know how often I’t heard people with that narrative, ‘I arrived back into my vehicle and that there was a rattlesnake underneath my vehicle,’” Bonnell stated. “That really is a snake that is trying to discover thermal cover from super-hot summertime temperatures that are too hot for snakes. . ”
For individuals recreating in rattlesnake land, Bonnell recommends grooming accordingly (including long pants and boots that protect bottoms ), keeping your pet leashed and keeping one ear bud out should you’re listening to music. In case you’re running or hiking on the road early in the afternoon or late in the day, she thinks it’therefore a fantastic idea to wear a hat with a brim, in addition to your own sunglasses, which means that you may see the road in front of you when facing sunlight glare.
“Anticipate that the potential for visiting a rattlesnake, either on the road or next to the road,” Bonnell stated. “This moves for runners, cyclists, hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians. All guest groups should expect that reality. ”
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