Rattlesnakes moving closer to homes this summer

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SALT LAKE CITY - Rattlesnakes are moving closer to homes this summer. Experts say the best defense against the reptiles is simply knowing what you're looking for.

Jim Dix, a snake expert, says there isn't an increase in rattlesnakes out this year, even though it appears that way. Some snakes fled during Utah's recent wildfires, pushing them closer to roadways and homes.

"It's not like we are having a major amount of rattlesnakes showing up everwhere. It's just that it's so hot that a lot of them are trying to find different areas for food to cool down. So it's not a huge increase," said Dix.

Snakes are a protected species in Utah, so when people spot them, Dix captures them and lets them loose nearby.

Dix says it's easier to educate children about snakes and what to do if you encounter one.

The rattle, arrowhead-shaped head and dull-colored skins distinguish rattlesnakes from gopher snakes.

If you see a rattlesnake, call police or contact Dix directly at (801) 860-2497.