While in Sedona you will probably want to take in some of it's natural beauty. Just keep in mind that when you are hiking, you are in areas that most likely are the home to many snakes. You probably won't see any but just in case, here is some info that will hopefully keep you safe.
The best thing you can do is learn to identify the snakes so if you do see one, you will know it's behavior. Just remember that they are very shy and never attack for no reason. If they hear you coming they will slither away. They love the heat so avoid putting your foot or hand on a rock without scanning it first. They are very good for the environment and keep the rodent population under control. Don't be afraid of them because they are very afraid of you.
I've been hiking thousands of times and STILL have a problem spotting a coiled up snake! While they're easy to spot when they're moving, trying to spot one that is lying in wait is very tricky, especially if you're walking briskly or running!
Just remember that snakes blend into their environment perfectly, especially in wooded areas, making them VERY hard to spot when they're sitting still. If you're running or hiking a trail and are expecting to be able to spot rattlesnakes, you've got another thing coming.
Rules to help keep you safe:
1) If you hear a rattle/noise stop immediately identify where the rattle/noise is coming from.
2) Take 2 big steps back from the snake.
3) Find another way around.
4) NEVER attempt to tease or play with the snake. This is the #1 reason people get bit.
Every Tuesday between 3:30pm and 4:30 pm animal expert Maggie Mitchell visits the Institute of EcoTourism for a small animals demonstration featuring animals native to Arizona.
Click Here for Information about EcoTourism Live Animal Demonstration
There are 3 main snake populations in Sedona. The Rattler, the Gopher and the King Snake. There are others but these are the main Sedona resident snakes.
Gopher snakes are constrictor snakes and are non venomous. They help keep Sedona's rodents under control. A large, cream-colored to yellowish brown snake with dark brown, black, or reddish brown blotches along top and sides of body. Head has a dark line crossing the eyes. Because of their behavior when cornered, they are sometimes mistaken for Rattlers.
Click Here To Read About The Gopher Snake
If you want to listen to the hiss of a gopher snake, go to this site and look on the left hand side an you will see the link to listen to the audio of the hiss.
Click Here To Hear The Hiss Of A Gopher Snake
Click To See The Differences Bewtween Gopher and Rattlesnake
Arizona King Snake
This snake is sometimes confused with the Sonoran Coral Snake which is a venomous snake and the Arizona King snake is not. Here is a rhyme that can help you identify these two snakes.
Red touches yellow, kill a fellow. (coral snake)
Red touches black, venom lack. (anything else w/ same colors)
Here's another one:
Red touches yellow, dangerous fellow. Red touches black, friend to Jack.
Arizona Sonoran Coral Snake
The good thing about King Snakes is that they love to snack on Rattlers. So just think of them it as a way of control the rattlesnake population in Sedona.
They can be found in mountainous habitat between 2800 and 8800 feet above sea level, especially in brushy areas or conifer forest with nearby water. A mixture of rocks, tree trunks, and undergrowth provides concealment.
They are a subspecies of the Sonora Mountain King Snake. Has bands of red, white, and black. Head is wide and flat. Closely resembles, and is often mistaken for the poisonous coral snake.
The King Snake is a constrictor. Seizes its prey, encircles it in its body coils until the prey suffocates, then swallows the prey whole.
They are often killed because they mimic the venomous coral snake.
King snakes provide a valuable service to humans by consuming large amounts of rodents that could be spoiling stored food, fouling buildings with feces and urine and spreading diseases to humans such as hantavirus.
Click Here To Learn More About The King Snake
While The Coral Snake is mainly found in Southern Arizona and not in Sedona. It is still good to be able to identify them.
Arizona Sonoran Coral Snake
Click Here For Information About The Arizona Sonoran Coral Snake
Western Diamondback Rattler
Rattle Snakes usually come out in the early AM or late afternoon to warm up by sunbathing on the warm rocks. During the heat of summer they hide under cool brush or fallen trees and such outta sight.
First off, Rattler snakes don't chase people. Many people see a snake heading towards them and immediately think they're "chasing" them. Snakes are passive, and definitely defensive, but not aggressive (at least not in the states). What's nice about snakes is that they'll let you know they're there with a rattle or two. If you continue to pester them they'll assume their coiled strike pose. That is your last warning that they don't want to be messed with. If people continue to fuss with the snake they will get bit. Not many animals on earth give you a warning that they're about to attack, which is what makes snakes rather forgiving if you ask me.
As for a Rattle snake bite, make sure you get to the hospital IMMEDIATELY, neurotoxin act fast. Especially on those with weaker immune systems and low body weight.
Click To See The Differences Between Gopher and Rattlesnake
Click Here to Read About Sedona Rattlesnakes
Click Here For More Information about Rattlesnakes
Click Here for More Rattlesnake information
Click Here To Read About How Rattlesnakes Warn Us
National Geographic story about a Rattlesnake bite.
This man in Sedona picks up the Rattlesnake with a stick. Not a real smart thing to do.