« on: July 04, 2014, 10:58:27 AM »
Rattlers are common where I live (southeastern Arizona) and one learns a thing or two about them after a while. First, they are utterly uninterested in people. Rattlesnakes don't "attack" people, they defend themselves when interfered with. Yes, it's possible to get bitten if you put your feet or your hands where they shouldn't be or if you forget to watch where you walk, but statistically, more than 2/3 of rattlesnake bites occur when people deliberately interfere with the snake. The basic rule is: leave the snake alone and it won't bother you. The second rule is: always stay outside of striking range, which is a minimum of 2/3 the length of the snake. Stay 3 feet away from a 3-foot rattler and it can't reach you.
These are also highly beneficial reptiles in that they keep down the rodent population. Arizona has many times more packrats than rattlers and packrats can do a lot of damage to property whereas rattlesnakes do none.
I see rattlesnakes here at least a couple of times a month, especially during the warmer months. They're everywhere. Seeing so many of them is conducive to developing a "live and let live" attitude about these beautiful animals. I might add that snakebite is a very rare phenomenon even though there are many snakes living here. In a state with a population of about 9 million people -- augmented by several million tourists each year -- we experience only about 300 rattlesnake bites per year. One has a much bigger chance of being hit by a car while out walking than being bitten by a snake.
That said, I'd never leave a snake in a location where there is a risk that someone could blunder into it. A snake on a sidewalk or on the front doorstep needs to be moved to a safer location. Don't try doing that if you see one, call a professional to do it for you. In my community the local fire department will gladly remove troublesome snakes.