Rattlesnake Sightings On The Rise In NE Oklahoma
SKIATOOK, Oklahoma - Several viewers have told us in the past few weeks about seeing rattlesnakes in Oklahoma. Local experts say they are also seeing an increase in snake sightings in our area.
Just last week near Rogers Point Park on the Verdigris River, Paul Schlosser and his son were on one of their weekly fishing trips.
"Me and my son are walking down the trail, and here's a gigantic snake," Schlosser said.
Not just any snake - a rattlesnake. About four feet long. And earlier this month, a Spencer Creek park ranger found a timber rattlesnake near Oologah Lake.
That snake now lives at the Skiatook Lake Nature Center where Park Ranger Greg Bersche cares for them. Bersche says this season's rain is to blame for more snake sightings. Oklahoma rattlesnakes tend to stay in low-lying wooded areas, but rising water is forcing them further up on land.
"A lot of the lakes are high right now, and elevated lake levels force the snakes up into the ridge areas, so they're more concentrated, and unfortunately that's where the people are, too," said Skiatook Lake Park Ranger Greg Bersche.
He says we'll see even more snakes in the fall once temperatures cool - as they tend to avoid the heat. That's concerning to those like Schlosser who love the outdoors and don't want anyone to get hurt.
"That's what scares me. The area we were in, there's kids all over the place and I was, that's kind of scary," said fisherman Paul Schlosser.
But Bersche says snake sightings -let alone snake bites - are actually very rare. And as long as you leave them alone, they'll likely return the favor.
According to experts, the best thing you can do if you see a snake: stay away from it.