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Ahhh 2020… And Now Come the Snakes!

Pandemic, protests, murder hornets. 2020 has hardly been tame.  And now snake season has started with the hot weather, and “Rattlesnake Wrangler” Bo Slyapich is warning west valley residents he’s seeing a lot of rattlers already.

“We’ve got more people home so there are more eyes on the ground,” he told Valley News Group. “It’s been non-stop crazy busy. I stopped counting a while back but I’m getting two to eight calls a day to grab rattlesnakes from yards and homes.”

Yes, he means inside homes. “Snakes like the temps we like – if it’s nice for us it’s nice for them. Which means in the hot weather they seek shade. If you leave your door open for a breeze or the dog, they’ll come in,” he said.

When termperatures are warm the snakes come out early morning and late evening when temps drop below 100.

But what he’s really worried about is the end of this year. The heavy rains the last three years brought more growth, which means more seeds, which means more rodents – aka food for the reptiles. According to Sliyapich, a female rattler usually has four to 10 babies a year. But a healthy, well-fed female can have 20 or more. “Because there’s so much to eat we’re going to see trouble year-end  with a bumper crop of babies,” he explained.

Right at this time of year,  he says, the snakes are even more aggressive. “Now they are just coming out of hibernation because they are hungry. And because they’ve been hibernating they are full of venom,” he warned. He says that if your pet gets bitten, get it to a vet immediately. “Make sure you have a vet that’s open 24/7,” he cautioned. “Snakes don’t always bite Monday to Friday.”

And for humans? “Do nothing except call 911,” the expert advised. “No cutting, biting, tourniquets or ice. Just sit there quietly and wait for the paramedics.” As far as protecting your yard from rattlers, he says there is no powder, spray or liquid repellent that works. “If they did I’d be retired now,” he laughed. Brush clearance and keeping doors – especially garage doors – closed are the best protection. “Snakes love to come into the cool out of the heat,” he said. “They think it’s a cave.”

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