Bruce and Laura Bergeson were greeted by an uninvited, and I'm sure, unwelcome guest sunning on their back lawn recently. Luckily, Bruce had a shovel handy in his hand and was able to prevent any further visits.
According to Jason Jones of the Utah Division of Wildlife, there are eight rattlesnake subspecies that live in Utah. The most common is the Great Basin rattlesnake, which is found across the state. Pine Valley with its rocky, talus slopes is a good habitat for the snakes, but we seldom see them because they are so camouflaged and because they like us even less than we like them. It is likely we have all passed them without knowing.
If you encounter a rattlesnake, the way you act will likely determine the experience you have. Giving it plenty of space will almost always avoid problems. Watch where you step, where you place your hands when you sit down and never harass a snake. Unless necessary, never kill a rattlesnake since at least some species are protected by Utah law. In short, keep your distance if you can--approaching a snake for any reason is almost always the cause of resulting problems.
Here is a link to a publication on tips to keep you safe called "Living with Venomous Reptiles."Living With Venomous Reptiles
|This was a young snake--not many rattles. (notice how fearless Bruce looks :)|
|This picture makes it look as big as an anaconda, but you can see the markings better.|