Rattlesnakes sighted in canyons as weather warms

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MILLCREEK CANYON, Utah – As the weather warms up Utahns head to the canyons, but the rise in temperatures also bring a rise in snake sightings.

Rattlesnakes are found all over Utah, but hikers in Millcreek Canyon have seen, or heard, a large number of the poisonous snakes this week.

Hiker Julie Davis said she stays alert for signs of snakes.

“They're here, and they rattle to warn us, and, you know, I know to stop and back up, and I watch for them and I think they're watching for me too so I'm not that worried",” she said.

Hiker Jessica Hale said she is cautious about snakes, but she doesn’t let them keep her off the mountains.

"Well, it's a concern enough that I keep an ear out for them, but it wouldn't stop me from hiking,” she said.

Hiker Becky Crockett said the presence of snakes makes her concerned for her pets.

"It’s always scary,” she said. “Your first response is to like run away, so you go around it very carefully. I worry about my dogs a little because they're kind of clueless, and they seem to stay away from them too, so we've done OK so far.”

Utah Department of Wildlife Resources officials said it is important for people to be aware of snakes, but they said the snakes’ presence shouldn’t keep people from enjoying the outdoors. They said people should give snakes plenty of space if they encounter them.

Officials said it is illegal for people to kill the rattlesnakes, and they said attempting to do so greatly increases a person’s chance of getting bit.