Desert Critters


While rarely fatal, rattlesnake bites are extremely painful and destructive.

What to Know

  • Thirteen species of rattlesnakes have been identified in Arizona and extra caution should be taken when being outdoors when the daytime temperature stays above 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Rattlesnakes can be encountered at anytime during the year but in March and April, rattlesnakes become more active and move to areas where they can soak up the sun.
  • During hot summer months, they are more active at night. After the start of the August monsoons, they become the most active of the year.
  • The shaking of the rattle can serve as a warning but not always – rattlesnakes can strike without warning or making a sound.
  • They can strike 1/4 to 1/2 of their body length – rattlesnakes in Arizona can be of different lengths.
  • Babies are typically born at the end of July and are capable of biting from birth.

Bite Symptoms

  • Immediate pain or burning at the site; fang marks usually visible
  • A metallic or rubbery taste in your mouth
  • Significant swelling with symptoms progressing to weakness, sweating, chills, nausea and vomiting

Treating a Bite

  • Seek emergency medical attention immediately and stay calm – you have time to reach medical care
  • Use your cell phone to call for help if you have service
  • If bitten on the hand, remove all jewelry before swelling begins

What Not to Do if Bit

  • Do not apply ice to the bite site or immerse the bite in ice
  • Do not restrict blood flow in any manner
  • Do not cut the bite site or try to suck out the venom; leave the bite site alone
  • Do not try to capture the snake to bring to the hospital, treatment is not snake specific

If you have questions, please call us directly at (602) 253-3334 or call (800) 222-1222 for your local poison center.

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