Watch for snakes as you unpack your holiday decorations

Watch for snakes as you unpack your holiday decorations
Some handlers have experienced an increase in calls recently. (Source: KOLD)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Rattlesnake handlers in the Tucson area have responded to a fair amount of calls recently.

Though the snakes aren’t considered ‘active’ right now, Derek Carlson, a Field Agent for Rattlesnake Solutions Tucson, says residents have been finding them in garages.

“We’ve received about 10 to 15 calls in the last couple of weeks,” he said.

During a ride-along on Sunday, Carlson received two calls. Both of the snakes were found in garages and neither of the callers were injured.

Carlson believes the weather is having an impact on the snakes behaviors.

“Their winter site that they [chose] may have more than likely been flooded from these past rains that we have had, kind of dispersing them out closer to people’s homes,” said Carlson. “Garages aren’t the smartest move for the snakes, but it’s a nice, warm spot.”

However, Carlson says some of the snakes may have already been living in people's garages for weeks, even months.“People are just starting to discover these snakes because it's the holiday season and they want to bring their lights back out that have been sitting there all year,” he said. “So, they are pulling these boxes out and finding snakes kind of behind them.”

Carlson recommends residents keep their garage doors shut, sealing off crevasses where snakes can get in. If possible, he says it’s a good idea to have shelves located at least 10 inches off the ground.

“Watch your hands wherever you are putting them around boxes, if you are going into your garage or around your house, just make sure you have a flashlight or close-toed shoes,” he said. “We always recommend people use plastic totes rather than cardboard boxes.”

If you do come across a rattlesnake, it’s best to contact a professional as rattlesnakes are venomous.

Carlson says the call volume is still lower than it is in the spring. He expects things will pick up at the end of February or beginning of March.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.