Camping in Alberta is a great way to experience the beauty of the great outdoors. However, it's important to be aware of the wildlife that shares this beautiful province with us, including rattlesnakes. We’re not trying to scare you, of course, but it’s good to be aware! Let’s explore the chances of running into a rattlesnake while camping in Alberta, where they are mainly located, what to do if you come across one, other reptiles to be aware of, and how to avoid encounters with rattlesnakes.
What Are the Odds I Run Into a Rattlesnake in Alberta?
Rattlesnakes are not as common in Alberta as they are in some other parts of North America, but they can still be found in certain areas of the province. The odds of running into a rattlesnake while camping in Alberta are pretty low, but it's still important to be aware of the potential danger they pose.
Where Are Rattlesnakes Mainly Located in Alberta?
Rattlesnakes are most commonly found in the southern part of Alberta, particularly in the grasslands and badlands areas. The two species of rattlesnakes that are found in Alberta are the prairie rattlesnake and the massasauga rattlesnake. The prairie rattlesnake is found mainly in southeastern Alberta, while the massasauga rattlesnake is found in the southwestern part of the province.
What Do I Do If I Come Across a Rattlesnake?
If you come across a rattlesnake while camping, it's important to stay calm and avoid any sudden movements. Give the snake plenty of space and back away slowly. Rattlesnakes are not aggressive and will usually only strike if they feel threatened or cornered. If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, seek medical attention immediately. As always, contact Fish and Wildlife to report incidents or even just sightings.
Other Reptiles to Be Aware of in Alberta
While rattlesnakes are the most well-known reptile in Alberta, there are several other species to be aware of. Garter snakes, bull snakes, and Western skinks are all common in Alberta, but they are not venomous and pose little to no threat to humans. The only other venomous reptile found in Alberta is the western painted turtle, but their bites are extremely rare.
How to Avoid Encounters with Rattlesnakes
The best way to avoid encounters with rattlesnakes is to be aware of their habitats and to take precautions while camping. Rattlesnakes are most active during the warmer months, so be especially cautious during this time. When setting up your campsite, avoid tall grass, piles of rocks, and other areas where snakes may be hiding. Always wear sturdy boots and long pants while hiking or exploring, and use a hiking stick to probe the ground ahead of you. Finally, be sure to keep your campsite clean and free of food scraps and trash, as this can attract rodents and other prey that may, in turn, attract snakes.
While the chances of running into a rattlesnake while camping in Alberta are relatively low, it's still important to be aware of the potential danger they pose. Remember to give these snakes plenty of space and to seek medical attention immediately if you are bitten. Also, be aware of other reptiles that are common in Alberta but are not venomous and pose little to no threat to humans. By taking precautions and being aware of your surroundings, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable camping experience in beautiful Alberta.
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