Snake Season is Upon Us

NM Poison Center Offers Safety Tips for New Mexico Families

Spring and summer in New Mexico brings out its poisonous snakes - Do you know how to avoid them and what to do if you can't?

Snake seasons are spring and summer in New Mexico. Venomous snakes in New Mexico include the prairie, western diamondback, rock, Mojave, black tailed, ridgenose, and massassauga rattlesnakes and the coral snake. Snakes seek shelter from the sun under rocks or bushes, and in caves and animal burrows. At night, when it’s cooler, snakes become active hunting their prey. Practice the following prevention tips to avoid a snake bite:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Walk in areas where the ground is clear so you can see where you step.
  • Be aware of where you sit especially in shady areas.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long pants and hiking boots.
  • Wear gloves when using your hands to move brush or rocks.
  • Do not reach into cracks in rocks, animal burrows or under bushes.
  • Do not walk around at night or sleep on the ground; snakes are most active at night.
  • Do not tease, handle or kill a rattlesnake. 
  • If you encounter a snake, do not panic or blindly run away without looking carefully where you are going.


The most important first-aid tip if bitten by a snake is to call the NM Poison Center or get to the nearest hospital right away. “Do not try any other first-aid methods because they are often useless and may cause more harm,” says Steven Seifert, medical director of the New Mexico Poison Center. If you are bitten by a snake, follow these safety precautions:

  • Get to the nearest hospital right away.
  • Keep calm.
  • Put a safe distance between you and the snake.
  • Remove rings, watches and bracelets.
  • Keep the bite area immobilized and level with the heart.
  • Carry a cell phone to call for help if needed.

Call the New Mexico Poison Center for poisoning emergencies, questions about poisons, or for information about poison prevention, 24 hours a day, toll free at 1-800-222-1222

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The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center will work with community partners to help New Mexico make more progress in health and health equity than any other state by 2020.