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Snakes slithering on trails put Tulsa hikers on alert

TULSA, Okla. — Spring awakens creatures like snakes and spiders. This is why the River Parks Authority warns trail users to be aware and not to stray off the trail.

Turkey Mountain is home to many wildlife like armadillos, deer, spiders and snakes. The River Parks Authority says there are 5 types of snakes to watch out for.

Connor Doyle hikes the Turkey Mountain trails about twice a week. He says he has seen lots of snakes on the trails and once saw two in one day.

“I think I saw a rattlesnake, but usually it’s just little green snakes,” Doyle said.

Doyle says seeing them on his walk sometimes scares him.

“Because you don’t see it until you’re on top of it, but most of all you have to worry about when the dog sees it first,” he said.

Ryan Howell of the River Parks Authority told me that this area is known for its ratsnakes, garter snakes, hog snakes and copperheads. He says at least on the trails you can see them, but they mostly live off the trails. This is why he invites users to stay on the trails and not get lost.

“Because the forest is full of greenery now, everything is leafy, there is dead foliage on the ground and snakes are underneath,” Howell said. “If you can’t see them, you might accidentally knock them over by stepping on them.”

Howell says if a snake creeps your way, don’t engage with it.

“They won’t hurt you if you don’t hurt them. The number one cause of snakebites is people trying to drag the snake off the trail, playing with the snake, or taking a selfie with the snake. That’s when you’re likely to get bitten by a snake is when you engage it,” Howell said.

Howell suggests you turn around or stop and wait for it to pass. Doyle says he does.

“I don’t get too close, I wait for him to leave the track and I continue,” Doyle said.

If you are bitten by a non-venomous snake, get a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in the past 10 years and treat the bite as a wound.

If you are bitten by a venomous snake, such as the copperhead, immediately wash the area with soap and water, remove jewelry and tight clothing, and call the Poisons and Drugs Information Center. ‘Oklahoma ASAP.

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