By John Hernandez
San Manuel Miner
It is rattlesnake season again and the unusual heat this year seems to be bringing them out more and closer to civilization. Rattlesnakes have been seen in Oracle at Sunset Point, Arizona State Park, near Peppersauce and even at Mt. Vista School.
Mt. Vista Superintendent Crystle Nehrmeyer reported that there were four rattlesnakes on campus in less than two weeks. The snakes were safely removed but with concern over the number of sightings on campus, a professional rattlesnake locator was hired to help locate a possible den. On Saturday, Aug. 29, the snake expert accompanied by the Superintendent searched all classrooms and the surrounding area.
The Superintendent reported that the tour of campus went well.
“We walked the campus and the company provided an assessment to help decrease the number of rattlesnake sightings on campus,” Mrs. Nehrmeyer said, adding that “during the tour we learned many things” including:
• Rattlesnakes in our area had a late birthing season. The mother rattlesnake stays with her young then leaves.
• It has been a very warm summer. The heat makes rattlesnakes all the more in search of water and protection.
• The campus has been mainly vacant since COVID-19 school closures. It is possible that the vacant campus became a welcoming location for rattlesnakes.
“Since the inspection and assessment, we have been eliminating areas with tall grass, locating areas where water could gather, and continuing our efforts to keep rodents from becoming a food source for snakes,” she told the Miner.
“We recognize that our campus is in a desert environment and an occasional rattlesnake sighting is to be expected. We have procedures in place when a rattlesnake is spotted on campus including keeping the rattlesnake in sight and calling the Oracle Fire Department to have the snake safely removed. Our staff has been instructed not to attempt to harm the rattlesnake as an estimated 8 out of 10 rattlesnake bites take place when a rattlesnake feels threatened by a human trying to move or harm the snake.”0