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Summer weather attracts snakes on base


A Prairie Rattlesnake is curled in a defensive posture in Texas. Prairie Rattlesnakes are also common in Colorado. If you see one, call the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron at 567-2300 or 567-6091. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo by Capt. Brent White)


A Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayi) waits in a defensive posture at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. These large snakes (up to eight feet long), are common on and around Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. They are known to hiss and rattle their tales, mimicking a rattlesnake, however they are completely harmless, and are vital to keeping rodent populations under control. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo by Capt. Brent White)


As the sun shines at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, the possibility of spotting a snake increases.  

Staff Sgt. Brandon Pingle, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman, said snakes are most likely to be seen on Schriever AFB during the early morning and late afternoon, sunning themselves.

“This is to absorb heat so they can be active,” he added.

Pingle said Prairie Rattlesnakes, Bull snakes, Garter Snakes (multiple species) and Western Hognose Snakes are common in the area, and if someone on base sees a snake, leave it alone.

“If the snake is a Rattlesnake, or is inside a building, call us,” he said. “If the snake appears to pose a threat, or appears to be trapped or injured, give us a call.”

Pingle said if bitten by a snake, remain calm first and foremost.

“Call 911 and include a description of the snake if possible,” he said. “Keep the bitten area below the level of your heart and refrain from using the affected limb as much as possible.”

Pingle added to not suck the venom out with your mouth or cut the bite marks.

“Additionally, do not tourniquet the bitten limb or attempt to kill or capture the snake,” he said.

Capt. Brent White, 50th CES engineering flight commander, said it is illegal to kill a wild snake in Colorado in most circumstances.

“Snakes are a natural part of the plains environment,” he said. “They play an important role in eliminating pests and rodents, and are a key indicator of the environmental health of the area.”

Both Pingle and White safely remove snakes to prevent any injuries from occurring.

“The base populace’s role is to give snakes a respectful distance when encountered,” Pingle added.

“If you see a snake, do not approach or harass it,” White said. “Most snake bites occur during an attempt to kill or handle the animal. The snake is more afraid of you than you are of it.”

If you see a snake, call 50th CES at 567-2300 or 440-6091.

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