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Keep your dog safe when you take a stroll through rattlesnake country

The nothern pacific rattlesnake is a subspecies of the western rattlesnake, seen here.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
August 01, 2014 - 2:34 PM

KAMLOOPS - When it comes to hiking trails with your pup, Wildsafe B.C. says to keep your dog on a leash; it’s the best way to ensure its safety in rattlesnake country.

“I’ve been noticing a lot more rattlesnakes and a lot more people mentioning that they’re seeing them,“ says Wildsafe BC’s provincial coordinator Frank Ritcey. He added the majority of sightings have been on the North side of Kamloops Lake and in the Bachelor Heights area of town.

“People with dogs should know that it’s rattlesnake season,” he says.

Ritcey says when dogs aren’t kept on a leash, they have a tendency to wander off trail and may threaten a snake who will try to defend itself.

“Dogs do get bit by rattlesnakes and they usually do not fair too well,” says Ritcey.

It is illegal to kill any type of snake. If you or your pet have been bitten by a rattlesnake seek medical attention immediately.

If you want to run your dog off leash, Ritcey says the best area for that is on the south side of Kamloops where there are fewer rattlesnakes - particularly in Kenna Cartwright Park.

Ritcey also advises if you find a rattlesnake around your home, to call the conservation service. Ritcey often will help with a release if conservation officers have too many cases on the go.

Two weeks ago, Ritcey and by-law officers responded to a woman who saw a rattlesnake sunning itself on her deck. She placed a bucket over the snake and remained indoors until Ritcey showed up.

He says the woman was very brave to cover the snake. Most people see one and call the service but by the time the agency responds he says “the snake has usually crawled away.”

While most people aren’t major snake fans, Ritcey offers some words of comfort to soothe the fear.

“For the most part rattlesnakes don’t want to bite you – that’s why they have a rattle. They can’t eat you... they have very little benefit in biting a human,” he says.

Ritcey developed a video to show Kamloops residents the different kinds of snakes in the area: 

Credit: Frank Ritcey - YouTube
Frank Ritcey is the provincial coordinator for Wildsafe BC.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.


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