ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE)– With so much moisture this winter and temperatures rising, so is the threat of something dangerous lurking in the shadows.
The University of New Mexico has sent out a statewide rattlesnake warning. KRQE News 13 spoke to farmers and ranchers who say this is the time of year when they specifically need to keep a close eye out for rattlesnakes. They also add that this year, there could be a lot of them.
“Oh they’re dangerous,” said Kim Chesser.
Chesser is the owner of Chesser Ranch located on the outskirts of Roswell where he has lived all his life.
Every summer he encounters 70 to 80 rattlesnakes, and snake season has arrived.
“You need to be aware of them, but mainly when rattlesnakes are out is early in the morning and late in the afternoon,” Chesser explained.
According to the UNM Health Sciences Center, New Mexico has the second highest number of rattlesnake bites per capita each year in the U.S.
As temperatures rise in southeast New Mexico, health officials warn people to look out for snakes.
Chesser said, “People don’t need to be afraid of them, they just need to respect them.”
He also noted that rattlesnakes are especially present after it rains and tend to hide in tall grass.
“That’s when you really need to be careful, is after you’ve had quite a bit of moisture,” Chesser said.
Building a concrete fence, avoiding over-watering and preventing overgrown brush are just a few of the things Chesser does to keep snakes at bay. But as the New Mexico Poison Center points out — most snake bites occur when people accidentally step near a rattler.
“Normally they won’t kill you, but people lose fingers and maybe a hand and stuff,” Chesser said.
There is also an app called Snake Bite 911 where you can see reported sightings. It also gives you a checklist of actions you should take, a venom tracker to log the spread of venom and even help locate nearby hospitals.