Rattlesnakes on the Homestead


Muck Boots 

Muck boots
Photo by Kat Ludlam

We recently moved from the high-altitude Rockies, where there were no poisonous snakes at all, to the high plains of Colorado, which is “crawling” with rattlesnakes. In order to learn how to stay safe, we had a snake biologist from Adaptation Environmental Services in Denver come to our property to assess our set-up and teach us all about living in areas with these dangerous creatures. He taught us about snakes and how they live, and he walked our property with us and showed us the strengths and weaknesses of our buildings and landscaping so we can make choices that deter the snakes from coming into areas of the farm that we and our animals frequent.

If you live in snake country there are some easy steps you can take to keep your family and farm safer. But first, you need to understand the habits of snakes.

Snakes are cold-blooded, meaning they can’t regulate their own body temperature. Thus, depending on the outdoor temperatures, they must move in to cooler spots or warmed spots to keep their body at a good temperature. During the hottest part of the day, they are hiding in prairie dog holes underground, or in the shade of your porch, buildings, or in piles of building supplies. During the cooler mornings and evenings, they are out and more active, moving around and hunting. And when the weather starts getting chilly, they will want to sun themselves out on the driveway, cement, or asphalt in open areas where they can take advantage of the warmth of the sun. Keep these habits in mind as you move around your property, knowing where to look for them during that time of day and weather will help you be more aware.

Protect Your Legs

Most snake bites happen on the ankle. Wearing appropriate shoes that will protect you from a potential bite as you move around your farm is the first step and goes a long way towards human safety. We made a rule that when the kids or we are moving around the farm, we must be wearing our muck boots or our cowboy boots. And especially if we are out in the pastures, whether walking or on a mower or tractor, boots are a must.

Jorge' (amigo)
7/25/2021 11:49:12 AM

Here's something to think about .... We live in the "mid-Willamette Valley" where it is quite wet during the late fall, winter, early spring making rattlesnakes not likely to be around BUT in the small "buttes" around our area rattlesnakes are legendary I'm told. To add to this concern is the FACT that we are in a drought trend making areas that historically had no snakes more inviting to them now so a new vigilance is needed as historical "no snake zones" innocuously become "potential snake zones". All over the region I've noted hearing about snakes being stumbled upon where it would not EVER have been expected before. These environmental boundaries are changing virtually every day and with those varying boundaries comes the possibility of a rattlesnake encounter when least expected.

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