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Snakes Underfoot!

(Photo - Snake)Employees working in the Klystron Gallery had an unexpected visitor last week: a baby rattlesnake. The snake was found on the concrete floor of the Gallery. Fortunately, nobody stepped on it, and the correct protocol was followed: security personnel at the main gate were called, and the snake was caught and released back to the wild at Jasper Ridge.

Snake encounters occur more frequently in the hot, dry months of summer, so anyone working outdoors should keep a watchful eye. If confronted by a snake, remember to keep a distance of at least six feet, call security (x2551), and warn others of the danger, if you feel comfortable enough to stay in the area.

To avoid coming into contact with a snake, take extra care around noisy environments where the sound of a rattlesnake may not be heard. In addition, it's best to stick to clearings and paths, since snakes are often found in tall grass and other debris. But if you have to enter such areas, make lots of noise and shuffle your feet to warn any snakes of your presence.

Avoid putting your hands into dark places in areas with easy outdoor access. Make sure to inspect these spots first with a flashlight. Encourage any snakes found on the roads to move out of harm's way by poking their tails with a long stick. But never, under any circumstances, pick up a snake, whether living or dead. Remember, snakes are protected animals on Stanford grounds.

If you are bitten by a snake, stay where you are and have a coworker call 9-911 for assistance. Lie down and try to keep the wound elevated. To avoid further bites, do not try to kill the snake for identification.

Kelen Tuttle, SLAC Today, June 25, 2008

Above image: A baby rattlesnake was captured in the Klystron Gallery last week. (Photo courtesy of Roland Kurz.)