Hikers, emergency responders warn about rattlesnakes

Officials warn locals about rattlesnakes on mountains.

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- As temperatures start to climb, officials are reminding you you're not the only one wanting to be outside. Action News talked to one hiker who said he saw one already this year.

"We were very shocked. It caught us off guard so we kind of jumped,” said Jay Bowman, a local hiker.

Bowman told Action News recently he came across someone he didn’t want to see on the mountain.

"On Badger, we’re walking along and right on the edge of the trail and we see a pretty good sized rattlesnake. It looked like he had four or five rattles on his tail. He was up in the striking position,” said Bowman.

Jay said the snake was hiding in the brush where he could barely see.

"I'd prefer the rattlesnakes to be on the trail so you can see them when you’re approaching, but they seem to like to hang out right at the edge in the higher grass,” said Bowman.

He, along with local fire departments, want to warn you of the rattlesnakes you could very well see.

"Obviously as the temperatures start to warm up, we’re going to start to see all these creatures that we haven’t seen throughout the winter. All the spiders and snakes-rattlesnakes in particular- going out of their dens," said Capt. Eric Nilson with the Kennewick Fire Department.

Officials said you’ll find the most rattlesnakes further near the counties and on mountains. That's why they said to make sure you're staying on the trail and not wandering off to reduce your chances of running into a snake.

"They usually warn you when they're around. The most important thing as soon as you start to hear rattlesnakes is to keep your distance and find another path where you're wanting to go," added Nilson.

If you've been bitten by a rattlesnake, officials said to immediately call 911.

"If you’re bitten in the leg or the arm, try to keep that extremity at heart level, maybe a little bit elevated," said Nilson.

But most importantly, officials and hikers said to just keep your eyes peeled.

"Really keep a close eye out. Keep your eyes on the ground and not on the view- which is a shame because the view is spectacular," added Bowman.

Fire leaders said everyone should also be careful around rivers. The recent flooding we had could bring more snakes to the banks.

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