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How West Texas heat affects rattlesnake behavior

Just because it's hot out, doesn't mean more snakes are coming out to play.

MIDLAND, Texas — While it is true that snakes are cold blooded and use things like the sun and shade to regulate their body temperature, they can also get overheated just like we do.

“Snakes are cold blooded, so they can't regulate their own body temperatures and so whatever the environmental temperature is at the time that's what their body temperature is going to be," Michael Nickell, museum scientist at the Sibley Nature Center in Midland, said. "So sometimes it might be too hot for them to be outdoors and so they’ll seek shade and coolness underground."

Nickell also said they're more likely to come out at night during these hotter seasons as well.

But, what do you do if you encounter a snake when you’re out and about?

“Back away first and foremost. Don’t try to take care of the snake yourself. If you’re in town call animal control and let them do it for you," Nickell said. "More people are probably bitten by either trying to catch the snake or trying to kill the snake than they are in just chance encounters."

If for whatever reason you end up getting bit by a rattlesnake, Nickell said it’s important to not waste any time and immediately go to the emergency room.

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